P.B.S. Pinchback, the first Black American to serve as governor of a U.S. state, was born on this day

Although blocked by white Southerners from being seated in the U.S. Senate, Pinchback was named acting governor from December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873, while the current governor was being impeached, becoming the first African-American to govern any state.

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P.B.S. Pinchback, the first Black governor of a U.S. state. (Mathew Benjamin Brady, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
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P.B.S. Pinchback, the first Black American to serve as governor of a U.S. state, was born on May 10, 1837, to a formerly enslaved mother and her former enslaver.

During the Civil War, Pinchback, who was once a riverboat gambler, served as an officer in the Union Army. He ventured into politics in 1868, first as a Louisiana state senator, later ascending to the position of lieutenant governor. 

He assumed the role of acting governor from December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873, during impeachment proceedings against the sitting governor, thus becoming the first African-American to govern a state.

Although Pinchback secured victories in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, his ability to serve was stopped by white Southerners. 

Pinchback passed away on December 21, 1921, at 84 years old.


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