This Day in History

Dec. 9, 1872: P. B. S. Pinchback First Black Governor

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

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 first 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.