1989: First African American is elected governor

Lawrence Douglas Wilder became the first African American to win a gubernatorial race when he took Virginia’s top job. Wilder, a lawyer, was elected lieutenant governor in 1985. At the time he was the first African American to be victorious in a statewide race. He very briefly considered vying for the Democratic nomination for president in 1991, but withdrew early.

[Pictured: Governor-elect Lawrence Douglas Wilder on Feb. 6, 1990.]

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