I had the opportunity to hear and then meet personally with the Honorable Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first black governor. I told the governor that his message and his life transcended political parties and spoke uncommon sense, desperately needed hope, and a clarion call to parents to instill the values that government cannot. A message like that would be as important at a Republican convention as it should be at a Democratic one.
Governor Wilder, a Korean War veteran, the grandson of slaves in Virginia, was elected as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and then as mayor of Richmond. He took the opportunity as the speaker at the annual Dell S. Wright Lecture at UNC Chapel Hill School of Government to deliver a message on personal responsibility and integrity as keys to courageous leadership.
His life—and his continuing record of service—has built a bridge for others to walk forward. In doing so he has become a model for the courageous leader he seeks to inspire in others.