John Adams Hyman was a Republican U.S. Congressman from North Carolina from 1875 to 1877. He was the first black person to represent the state of North Carolina in the House of Representatives. He was elected from North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, including counties in the northeast around New Bern.
Hyman was born into slavery in 1840 near Warrenton, North Carolina. He did not receive any formal education as a child. By 1861, he was working as a janitor for a jeweler named King in Warrenton. King knew how to read and write and taught Hyman. By the time Hyman was 25, he had been sold eight times further down south.
After the American Civil War, Hyman returned to North Carolina in 1865. He worked as a farmer and pursued elementary studies. Recognized for his leadership, Hyman was chosen as a delegate to the state’s equal rights convention in 1865, and to the constitutional convention in 1868. He was elected to the North Carolina Senate, where he served from 1868 to 1874 in the Reconstruction-era legislature and he served as U.S. Congressman for North Carolina from 1875 to 1877.
He was also appointed as special deputy collector of internal revenue for the fourth district of North Carolina from July 1, 1877, to June 30, 1878. Hyman later moved to Washington, D.C., after being accused of mishandling church funds. In Washington, he worked for the United States Postal Service and the United States Department of Agriculture. He died in 1891.