This Day in Black History: May 10, 1837

The nation's first Black governor, P.B.S. Pinchback, was born.

Posted: 05/10/2013 08:30 AM EDT

(Photo: WikiCommons)

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born on May 10, 1837, to Elize, a freed slave, and her former master William, a wealthy plantation owner. He grew up to become a Republican and the first African-American governor.

During the Civil War, Pinchback was an officer in the Union army. He entered politics in 1868 as a Louisiana state senator before becoming lieutenant governor in 1868 after the incumbent's death. His political fortunes continued to improve when he was named acting governor from Dec. 9, 1872 to Jan. 13, 1873, while Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth was being impeached, becoming the first African-American to govern any state.

Pinchback also won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, but was unable to serve because of challenges by white Southerners. He turned his attention to publishing the weekly newspaper The Louisianian, helped found Southern University and practiced law in Washington, D.C.


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