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Deval L. Patrick was born on this date in 1956. He is a Black businessman, lawyer, and politician and the first Black governor of Massachusetts.
He was born on Chicago's South Side, and raised on welfare in a one-bedroom apartment (his father was Pat Patrick, a member of jazz musician Sun Ra's band). While in middle school, one of his teachers referred him to A Better Chance (ABC), a national non-profit organization for identifying, recruiting, and developing leaders among academically gifted students of color. ABC enabled him to attend Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. Patrick graduated from there in 1974, and four years later graduated from Harvard College.
He then spent a year working with the United Nations in Africa. In 1979, Patrick returned to the United States and enrolled at Harvard Law School. He was elected president of the Legal Aid Bureau, and defended poor families in Middlesex County. After graduating from law school, Patrick worked as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and as an attorney for the NAACP.
During this time, he met future President Bill Clinton, then serving as governor of Arkansas, and married Diane Bemus. In 1986, Patrick went to work as a private attorney and continued volunteer work with the NAACP. In 1994, Clinton nominated Patrick to be assistant attorney general for Civil Rights. In this position Patrick worked on racial profiling, human trafficking, discrimination, and more. He also played a key role as an adviser to post-apartheid South Africa.
In 1997, he returned to Boston to join the firm Day, Berry, & Howard, and was appointed as a legal executive for the company. From 1999 to 2004, Patrick worked as an executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta and New York City. He resigned and returned to Massachusetts in 2004 because he said it was unethical for the company to decline to investigate major allegations of violence against workers in Colombian bottling plants. In 2004, he was appointed to the board of directors of the firm that controls Ameriquest. Ameriquest subsequently agreed to a $325 million dollar settlement regarding its predatory lending practices in 49 states. Patrick stepped down from the board on July 2, 2006.
In 2005, Patrick announced his candidacy for governor of Massachusetts. Although first seen as a dark horse candidate in the Democratic primary, the Patrick campaign gained momentum at the Democratic State Caucuses. The campaign organized its supporters, many of whom had never been involved in such party processes before, to win twice as many pledged delegates as the opponent.
Patrick secured the nomination in the September 2006 primary, and went on to win 49 percent of the vote in a three-way race, carrying every county in the state. On November 7, 2006, Patrick became the first elected Black governor of Massachusetts and the second elected African American state governor in United States history, the first being Virginia State Governor Douglas Wilder. Patrick's margin of victory increased the Democratic party margin, already a super majority, in both houses of Massachusetts General Court, the state's legislature.
He and his wife Diane Patrick have lived in Milton since 1989. They have two daughters, Sarah and Katherine. On November 14, 2019, Patrick officially announced that he would enter the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. His campaign manager was Abe Rakov. Following a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary on February 12, 2020, Patrick suspended his campaign.