L. Douglas Wilder elected governor
The grandson of enslaved Virginians, L. Douglas Wilder was the first black member of the Virginia Senate in the 20th century (1969) and the first African American to win statewide office in Virginia (lieutenant governor) in 1985. In 1989, he became the first African American elected governor in America. He briefly ran for U.S. president in 1991, and from 2004-2008, served as mayor of Richmond, his hometown. Wilder’s pioneering, four-decades-long political career inspired countless young black politicians, including a U.S. Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama, who made history in 2008.
Image: Library of Virginia