1989 November 8

Douglas Wilder Elected First African-American Governor of Virginia


Douglas Wilder, a Democrat, was elected the first African-American governor of Virginia. He was also the first African-American governor of any state since the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War. He served one term, from 1990 to 1994.

Wilder had a number of significant “firsts” in his political career. In 1969, Wilder became the first African-American elected to the Virginia Senate since Reconstruction. In 1985, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, the first African-American to be elected to a state-wide office in Virginia. In 2004, he became the first mayor of the city of Richmond, Virginia to be elected directly by the voters (previously, mayors were selected from among city council members).

Watch an interview with Douglas Wilder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DldiHB_QL8

Read: Dwayne Yancey, When Hell Froze Over (1988)

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