The governor’s grandparents were African-American slaves in the 19th century.
On this day in 1990, Douglas Wilder became the first elected African-American governor in the United States. His grandparents were African-American slaves in the 19th century. Interestingly, the state that first elected an African-American governor was Virginia, historically one of the most important US states. Douglas Wilder became the 66th Governor of Virginia in its history, taking up the same position once held by Thomas Jefferson, the lead author of the US Declaration of Independence, who was a slave-owner personally (Jefferson is estimated to have owned as many as 600 slaves during his lifetime ).
Douglas Wilder remained in governorship for one full term for four years. He was later elected mayor of the Virginia capital of Richmond.