Douglas Wilder Becomes First Elected Black Governor
On January 13, 1990, Douglas Wilder, the first African American to be elected governor of an American state, took office as Governor of Virginia. Wilder served as the 66th Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. He broke some color barriers on his way to the governorship. He remains a controversial figure in Virginia politics.
Wilder was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1931, and graduated from Virginia Union University with a degree in chemistry. After college, he joined the United States Army and served in Korea, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. Upon returning home, Wilder decided to pursue a career in law and earned a degree from Howard University Law School.
Wilder began his political career in the Virginia State Senate in 1969, where he served for 20 years. In 1985, he was elected as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, becoming the first African American to hold that office. He held this position for four years before running for Governor in 1989.
As Governor, Wilder faced many challenges, including a severe recession and a budget deficit. However, he was able to make significant progress during his time in office. He worked to improve the state’s economy and create jobs, and was able to balance the budget without raising taxes. He also made strides in areas such as education and healthcare.
One of Wilder’s most significant achievements during his time as Governor was his efforts to promote racial harmony and equality. He worked to build bridges between different communities and promote understanding and cooperation.