Lawrence Douglas Wilder: The First African-American Governor of Virginia

1 Posted by - February 1, 2023 - History, LATEST POSTS, POLITICS

Lawrence Douglas Wilder is an American politician who got elected as the first African-American governor of Virginia. He was the one who won the statewide office in the state and started his services soon after he was elected.

Wilder was born on January 17, 1931, in Richmond, Virginia. He is the grandson of a former slave and was named after the abolitionist Mr. Fredrick Douglass and a famous poet Paul Laurance Dunbar. He was raised by his parents Robert and Beulah Wilder among one brother and six sisters. Wilder spent his childhood in gentle poverty, but it was education that paved his way towards the success. Wilder made his way to the Virginia Union University by serving on the tables of hotels. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelors degree in Science majors Chemistry and after a short while he got drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in the War of Korea.

After showing some diversified heroism in the Korean War, Wilder started his career and pursued the job of an attorney. Despite having an outstanding record at war, he was not allowed to take admission in a law school situated in Virginia just because the Blacks were prohibited from attending the law school. But luck made him pursue his law degree from the Howard University in D.C. and graduated in 1959 and at the same time passed the Virginia Bar. He then returned to Richmond, Virginia and opened a small law firm for the minorities by the name of Wilder, Gregory & Associates.

In 1969, Lawrence Wilder participated in the Virginia State Senate elections and got elected as the first African-American lieutenant governor for the state. But this was not all, as after five years he became the nations’ first Black American governor of the state. During his tenure as a governor, he was known as one of the modest and striding governors in balancing the budget of the state. In 1994, he left the governorship and pursued some different initiatives such as working for National Slavery Museum, hosting a radio talk show and teaching at the Virginia Common University. Wilder left politics after ten years, and till date, he has been involved in different social activities and is more focused on his personal life.


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