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Profiling Lawrence Douglas Wilder, The First African-American To Be Elected Governor In The United States

Lawrence Douglas Wilder


Lawrence Douglas Wilder, born on January 17, 1931 in Richmond, Virginia, became the first African-American governor of the United States of America on January 13, 1990. He was Virginia’s 66th governor. Wilder was the governor of Virginia for four years, from 1990 to 1994. Douglas Wilder is now the mayor of Richmond, Virginia.


Wilder began his schooling at a racially segregated primary school, George Mason Elementary, and went on to attend Richmond’s all-black Armstrong High School. In 1951, he graduated from Virginia Union University in his hometown with a degree in chemistry. Following the completion of his college studies, Wilder joined the United States Army and served in the army during the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star for gallantry.

Douglas Wilder served as a chemist in the Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office after the war. Douglas graduated from Howard University Law School in 1959 on the G.I. Bill, and soon after, he founded Wilder, Gregory, and Associates.

Douglas Wilder entered politics in 1969, when he won a seat in the Virginia State Senate in a special election. Wilder was elected as Virginia’s first African-American state senator since Reconstruction. He served in the Virginia Senate for the following 15 years before being elected Lieutenant Governor in 1985. Douglas Wilder won the Virginia governorship four years later and was inaugurated on January 13, four days before his 58th birthday.

Wilder awarded a controversial pardon to basketball sensation Allen Iverson, a popular high school basketball player accused of abusing a woman, during his stint as Governor. Although Wilder was not swayed by the evidence provided in the case, many people in Virginia felt his judgment was racially motivated. Lawrence Douglas, on the other hand, presided over fourteen executions in the state.

Douglas resigned as governor in January 1994 after being barred from competing for a second term. Wilder Lawrence Douglas, a Democrat for most of his career, earned a reputation as a law and order fiscal conservative, a viewpoint that appealed to many conservative voters in Virginia.

He also publicly chastised fellow Democrat Senator Chuck Robb and backed Republican Mark Early for the United States Senate. Wilder declared himself an independent after leaving office in 1994. He returned to politics in 2004, when he was elected Mayor of Richmond with 79% of the vote. As a result, he became Richmond’s first directly elected mayor in sixty years.


Written by How Africa News

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