L. Douglas Wilder was the first African American elected governor in the U.S. From 1990 to 1994, he lead the Commonwealth of Virginia, a position he held from 1990 to 1994. Wilder's long commitment to political leadership in Virginia has broken numerous racial barriers.
Wilder had previously served as a state senator, representing Richmond from 1969 to 1985 as the first African American state senator in Virginia since Reconstruction. As a state senator, he was able to sponsor Virginia’s first drug paraphernalia law and compulsory school attendance law. Wilder spent eight years working to establish a state holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Beginning in 2005, Wilder led Richmond as an elected mayor.
In addition to his political career, Wilder is also a leading criminal trial attorney. He earned his law degree at Howard University Law School. After his graduation from Howard, Wilder established one of the few minority-owned legal firms in Virginia during the 1960s.
Today, Wilder is a Distinguished Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a driving force behind the establishment of a national Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia.