‘People who are just like me will not be able to vote. That’s nuts’: Virginia to see first Black speaker of the house

Five years ago, while working on a high-profile case, the trial lawyer Don L Scott Jr received a call from a reporter. “Hey, is it true that you had gone to prison?” Scott remembers them asking. “I said, ‘It is, and if you want the entire story, before you print it, I hope that you will sit down and talk to me.’”

On 10 January 2024, Scott will be sworn in as Virginia’s first Black speaker of the house in the commonwealth’s 400-year-plus history. His rise to the position started in 2018, when that reporter called him. Scott said that although he hadn’t hidden his past before, “it’s not something you put on your résumé either”. That call was a pivotal moment for him, empowering him to share his story widely, and helping him realize that he had the potential to be a politician.