January 13

January 13, 1990 – L. Douglas Wilder Becomes Governor of Virginia

L. Douglas Wilder took office as the first African American governor of a state since reconstruction on January 13, 1990 in Virginia.

Douglas Wilder 2003 NIH

Douglas Wilder (2003)

Wilder was elected as governor of Virginia on November 7, 1989. He held the position of governor from 1990 to 1994.  Prior to serving as governor, Wilder became the first African American in Virginia elected statewide in 1985 after winning the Lieutenant Governor position.  He was overwhelmingly elected to Mayor of Richmond in 2005 and served until 2009.  Lawrence Douglas Wilder was born on January 17, 1931 in Richmond, Virginia.  Wilder graduated from Virginia Union University in 1951 with a chemistry degree.  He became decorated war hero after receving the Bronze Star Medal during the Korean War.  Wilder graduated with a law degree in 1959 from Howard University and afterward began a law practice in Richmond.