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Wed, 05.10.1837

Pinckney Pinchback, Officer, and Politician born


On this date, we mark the birth of Pinckney Pinchback. He was a Black military officer and politician.

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born in Macon, GA, in 1837, the son of a former slave and a white planter.  Pinchback began supporting his family at 12 after his father died. The family had moved to Cincinnati, where Pinchback found work as a cabin boy. When the American Civil War broke out, he went to New Orleans and, in 1863, was able to join the Union National Guard. He raised and commanded an entire company in a month. Racism prevailed, though; he was treated cruelly in the New Orleans area and was not given his officer's commission because he was Black.

After the war, Pinchback entered politics in Louisiana.  In 1872, when Governor Henry Clay Warmoth was impeached, Pinchback, who had been lieutenant governor, succeeded him, serving for over a year, and thus became the first black governor in America.

Pinckney Pinchback earned a law degree from Straight University in New Orleans and was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 1886. He moved to Washington, D.C., and in 1890 organized the American Citizens Equal Rights Association, traveling extensively throughout the country and forming local branches. Pinckney Pinchback died in 1921.

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U.S. Government Printing Office
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