City of Alexandria unveils marker to Louisiana’s first African-American governor
Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall joined local historic preservation supporters Tuesday afternoon in the Alexander Fulton Mini Park downtown to unveil a historical marker in honor of P.B.S. Pinchback, Louisiana’s first African-American governor.
“It is fitting that we honor P.B.S. Pinchback, the first African-American Governor of Louisiana, during Black History Month,” Hall said. “Gov. Pinchback was a significant force in Louisiana politics during Reconstruction following the Civil War. And he traveled to Alexandria for meetings during his brief time as governor.”
Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born in 1837 in Georgia to a white father, who was a planter, and a black mother who was a former slave. While he could have tried to pass for white, Pinchback embraced his African-American roots. During the Civil War and after the fall of New Orleans, Pinchback recruited the first set of African-American volunteer soldiers for the Union Army in Louisiana known as the 1st Louisiana Native Guards, and he served as its first Captain.
After the war, he served as Lieutenant Governor and became the first African-American Governor of Louisiana in December of 1872. His term was short – only six weeks. But during that time several important acts of the Legislature were implemented and he traveled to Alexandria for political meetings.
Pinchback is just one of a number of Louisiana Governors with ties to Alexandria. Governor Earl K. Long lived on Hill Street in Alexandria from 1954 to 1956. And Gov. "Jimmie" Davis launched his international performance career on the steps of the Alexandria City Hall in the early 1920s.
The Pinchback marker is the first marker erected as part of the City of Alexandria’s new Historical Marker Program designed to recognize historical events and people associated with Alexandria.
“It is important that we remember and preserve our history for future generations,” Hall said. “Our hope is that this new City Historical Marker Program will help in that effort.”
Local historian Michael Wynne said he was excited about the new marker program.
“A historical marker is much more than just a sign made up of metal and paint with words on it. They are evidence that a community really cares about its own peoples, both past and present,” he said. “This marker, like our future historical markers, will give us pause to contemplate the great people who once walked our streets before us.”