Transcript for Jan. 13, 1990: First African American Governor
The state of Virginia has a new governor who will go down in -- -- history books. Former lieutenant governor Douglas wilder took the oath of office in Richmond today and became the first black ever elected governor in the United States. In his inaugural -- governor wilder who grew up in the segregated south said he sees a future in which quote nothing is impossible. Steve shepherd has the story. Today in Richmond that capital of the old confederacy the grandson of a slave do what's never been done before. Bonds Douglas wilder. There's columnists -- -- do solemn as well. As Douglas wilder took the oath of office to become the country's first elected black governor. Thousands of invited guests from Virginia and across America roared their approval. Wilder pledged to -- all the people of Virginia despite the State's mounting budget deficit. Without question. Much tighter economic times which -- -- the -- that they as they -- Will -- to the -- Our ability to make hard decisions to leave. And the governor. But progress will be possible opportunity can be expanded freedom can be increased. Throughout the state Virginians were well aware that history was being rated the -- they could sit there and. Yeah are. Like they were elected governor Kabul the region it -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Doug -- -- up here in the church hill neighborhood on Richmond's east side. But while there was a young man not many Virginians could even imagine the possibility of a black state governor. The fact is in those days most black Virginians couldn't even vote. While renowned Virginians like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry helped bring liberty to America it was liberty for whites only. And among Virginia's greatest heroes -- general Robert. Virginians say wilder overcame his State's history because Virginia has changed. But Virginia has always been a leader of the states and we're leading once again. Political observers say while there's long track record as a professional moderate politician and was also a major factor. Whatever the explanations. Virginia today has -- elected black governor. And for both Virginia and the United States it is an unprecedented moment of change. Steve Shepard ABC news Richmond.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.