John J. Smith

Nov 2, 1820 - Nov 4, 1906

John James Smith was a barber shop owner, abolitionist, a three-term Massachusetts state representative, and one of the first African-American members of the Boston Common Council. A Republican, he served three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He was born in Richmond Virginia. He took part in the California Gold Rush.
During the 1840s and 50s, Smith's barbershop on the north slope of Beacon Hill was a center of abolitionist activity, and provided shelter to freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, Smith recruited soldiers for the black regiments of Massachusetts.
While serving on the Boston Common Council in 1878, Smith was responsible for the hiring of Boston's first black police officer.
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