P.B.S. PINCHBACK was born near Macon, Georgia on May 10, 1837. His father William, was a wealthy white planter, and his mother Elize, was his father’s former slave. Pinchback’s early education was attained in the public schools of Cincinnati, Ohio. He later studied law at Straight University in Louisiana, and in 1886, was admitted to the bar. During the Civil War, he served as captain of Company A, in the 2nd Regiment of the Louisiana Native Guards. Pinchback entered politics in 1867, serving as a delegate to the Louisiana Reconstruction Convention. He also served as a member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1868 to 1871. Upon the death of Lieutenant Governor Oscar Dunn in 1871, Pinchback, who was president of the senate at the time, assumed the duties of the lieutenant governor’s office. He served in this capacity until 1872. Due to impeachment charges, Governor Henry C. Warmoth was removed from office on December 8, 1872, and Pinchback, who was lieutenant governor, assumed the office of the governorship. He served for thirty-six days, becoming the first African-American to serve any U.S. state as governor. During his short tenure, several appointments were granted, and ten legislative bills were sanctioned. After leaving the governor’s office on January 13, 1873, Pinchback was elected to Congress, but was denied a seat. In 1879, he served as a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention. Four years later, he was appointed surveyor of customs for the port of New Orleans. He also was involved in the founding of Southern University, where he served for several years on the board of trustees. In his latter years, he moved to Washington, D.C. and practiced law. Governor P.B.S. Pinchback died on December 21, 1921, and was buried at the Metairie Ridge Cemetery in New Orleans.
Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn. Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols