Pinchback Essay

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Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, commonly known as P.B.S. Pinchback, was the first African American elected as a governor of a US state. Pinchback was born in Georgia in 1837 to a former slave. As an adult, Pinchback volunteered for the military during the Civil War. At first, he served in the First Louisiana Volunteers, which was an all white group then he left to create an all black volunteer unit called the Corps d 'Afrique. After the war, Pinchback began his career in politics in New Orleans. In 1968, he contributed to establishing Louisiana’ s new constitution during the state’s 1868 Constitutional Convention. When Lieutenant Governor Oliver Dunn died in 1871, Pinchback took his place. Shortly after, the governor of Louisiana at the time, Henry C. Warmouth, was impeached causing Pinchback to become the new governor. Even though his term was only 36 days, he was able to effectively govern by sanctioning 10 legislative bills. After his term as governor, Pinchback was elected to the United States Senate but had his seat taken from him to due racially motivated actions. Pinchback made history for his ability to obtain political power during the reconstruction era of the South.

In 1989, Lawrence Douglas Wilder became the second African American to become governor. Douglas was born in 1931 in Virginia. Similar to Pinchback, Wilder served in the military after being drafted to fight in the Korean War straight out of college. He received a Bronze Star and was promoted to
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