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Biographical Details of Leadership
Contemporary Lens on Black Leadership
Historical Focus on Race
L. Douglas Wilder
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.