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Gov. Douglas Wilder receives 1990 NAACP Award
Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder (R), the nation's first black governor beams upon receiving the 75th NAACP Spingarn Medal from former recipient Percy Ellis Sutten (L) of new York on July 12, 1990 in Los Angeles, during the civil rights organization’s fundraising dinner. The medal is presented annually to the person of African descent and American citizenship for the highest or noblest achievement during the previous year. Benjamin Hooks, director of the NAACP joins in the presentation (C). (UOPI Photo/Jim Ruymen/Files)
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Lawrence Douglas "Doug" Wilder (born January 17, 1931) is an American politician, the first African American to be elected as governor of Virginia, and the second to serve as governor of a U.S. state. Wilder served as the 66th Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. When earlier elected as Lieutenant Governor, he was the first African American elected to statewide office in Virginia. His most recent political office was Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, which he held from 2005 to 2009.

Wilder was born in Richmond, the seventh of eight children of Robert and Beulah (Richards) Wilder. The grandson of American slaves, he was named after poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. He attended George Mason Elementary School and Armstrong High School, then racially segregated. He did his undergraduate work at Virginia Union University, where he graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1951. Wilder is a prominent life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., an intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established by and for African Americans.

Wilder served in the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star for heroism at Pork Chop Hill. He rose to leadership in his first experience in an integrated organization, as President Truman had desegregated the military in 1948. After his service, Wilder earned a law degree at Howard University School of Law under the G.I. Bill. Virginia university law schools did not then admit African Americans. He graduated in 1959 and returned to Richmond to co-found the law firm of Wilder, Gregory, and Associates.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Douglas Wilder."