Pinchback, P. B. S.
- Caryn E. Neumann
Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, who became the first black governor in the United States and the only African American to hold a governorship during Reconstruction, was born in Macon, Georgia, to William Pinchback, a Mississippi plantation owner, and Eliza Stewart, a former slave of mixed ancestry who had been freed just before her son's birth. In 1847 Pinchback and his older brother moved to Cincinnati to attend boarding school. Upon William Pinchback's death, his heirs threatened Eliza with reenslavement, and she fled Georgia to join her sons in Ohio. The family was denied any inheritance and soon found themselves in financial straits.
At the age of twelve with his elder brother unable to cope with the sudden responsibility Pinchback became the chief supporter of his family He worked as a cabin boy on canal boats in Ohio and later as a steward on several Mississippi riverboats He learned the ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895.