Featured image: AP-Bryan Woolston
Maryland recently elected their first Black Governor, Wes Moore. In the noted history of this country over the last 150 years, there have been six Black Governors to Serve in the United States. Louisiana (1871, 1872), Virginia (1990), New York (2008), Massachusetts (2006, 2010), and now Maryland (2022). Three were elevated due to the Governor being impeached or resigning. The other three, Wilder, Patrick, and Moore, were elected to office.
February denotes Black History Month, which recognizes the first two Black Governors of the United States who came to power during Reconstruction. In 1868, Republican Oscar Dunn, the first Black lieutenant governor ever elected, served as acting Governor of Louisiana when Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth (R) was injured in 1871. Dunn became the nation’s first acting Governor. Dunn served as a Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana and acting Governor of Louisiana for 39 days. Dunn died in office, and the state legislature elected state Senator P. B. S. Pinchback, another black Republican, to replace him as lieutenant governor.
Governor Henry C. Warmoth was later impeached from office on December 8, 1872, and Pinchback, Lieutenant Governor, assumed the office of the governorship. During Pinchback’s short tenure, he was swamped: several appointments were granted, and ten legislative bills were sanctioned. After leaving the Governor’s office on January 13, 1873, Pinchback was elected to Congress but denied a seat. In 1879, he served as a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention.
Similarly, in 2008, David Patterson, NY, was lieutenant governor and elevated to fulfill his predecessor Governor Eliot Spritzer’s unexpired term. He served nearly three years of Spitzer’s time. He was the first legally blind person to be sworn in as Governor of a U.S. state and was the first African American Governor of New York. L. Douglas Wilder was elected Governor in 1989 and served from 1990-1994. Wilder was the first Black American to be elected a United States governor.
Governor Deval Patrick’s Massachusetts election took place in 2006. Governor Wes Moore’s election took place in 2022. All of these men have been trailblazers in leadership and politics. They have paved the way for other men and women to follow in their footsteps. Yet, it is still ironic that in 2023, we still mentioned the “First” Black Governor. More to come!
The Narrative Matters!
Brockell, G. (January 18, 2023). The five Black governors who came before Maryland’s Wes Moore. Who are the five Black governors who came before Maryland’s Wes Moore? – The Washington Post
Downs, G. P. and Massur, K. (2017).The Era of Reconstruction 1861-1900. The Era of Reconstruction: 1861-1900 (nps.gov)
National Governors Association (NGA). (2022). Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback – National Governors Association (nga.org)
Wikipedia (2022). Oscar Dunn – Wikipedia
Wikipedia (2022). David Paterson – Wikipedia