Douglas Wilder takes office as first elected black governor

On January 13, 1990, Lawrence Douglas Wilder was sworn in as the governor of Virginia by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. Wilder was the first African-American to be elected governor of a U.S. state. He would also serve as Mayor of Richmond, the state's capital city, from 2005 through 2009.

Learn more about the life and career of Douglas Wilder from the Virginia Historical Society.

French novelist defended Dreyfus in open letter

On January 13, 1898, the French journalist and novelist Emile Zola published an open letter entitled J'accuse in defense of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army who had been dubiously convicted of spying.

Learn more about the Dreyfus Affair. Sentenced to prison for libel, Zola fled to England; he was granted amnesty and returned to France, but died of carbon monoxide poisoning before Dreyfus was exonerated.

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