P.B.S. Pinchback “The First African American Governor”

P. B. S. Pinchback - Brady-Handy
Governor P.B.S. Pinchback of  Louisiana
Although, it was in the later part of the twentieth century when Douglas Wilder was elected governor of Virginia in 1989, over 100 years earlier, P.B.S. Pinchback became the first African American Governor of any state when he assumed on December 9, 1872 a temporary term as Governor of Louisiana.  Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born on May 10, 1837 in Macon, Georgia to Eliza Stewart a freed slave and her former owner, Major William Pinchback, a white plantation planter.  It is said that although his father had a legal white family, he also raised Pinchback and his siblings as his own children.  Pinchback,’s father sent him and his older brother to school at a private academy in Cincinnati, Ohio.  After his father died, his mother took the entire family north to Cincinnati.  Pinchback enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War and was commissioned as a Captain.

Hon PBS Pinchback 1911
Former Governor P.B.S. Pinchback in 1911
After the war, he moved to New Orleans and became active in politics.  Pinchback was eventually elected to the State Senate and became President of the Senate. When the Lieutenant Governor died in office, Pinchback as President of the Senate became the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. When Governor Henry C. Warmouth was impeached, he had to step down from his position until the conclusion of the impeachment proceedings. Because he was the Lieutenant Governor, Pinchback at that point became  the first African American governor and the 24th governor of Louisiana from December 9, 1872 until January 13, 1873