This Day in History

Dec. 9, 1872: P. B. S. Pinchback Becomes Governor

Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Reconstruction

I demand simple justice. I am not here as beggar. I do not care so far as I am personally concerned whether you give me a seat or not. I will go back to my people and come here again.

Source: The Library of Congress.

P. B. S. Pinchback. Source: Library of Congress

On Dec. 9, 1872, P. B. S. Pinchback of Louisiana assumed the impeached governor’s office, becoming the second Black governor in the United States.

He served the remaining month of his predecessors term. Pinchback was elected to Congress in 1873.

However, his opponent, William Pitt Kellogg, contested the election and won the seat. This reversal was due to the Ku Klux Klan’s terrorism of Black voters, as well as corruption on the part of white politicians.

A year later, Pinchback won a seat in the U.S. Senate, only to have it denied him as the result of racially motivated actions that reflected tensions prevalent throughout Louisiana.

Learn more in the Zinn Education Project national report, “Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction,” and find teaching resources on Reconstruction below.