- NAME: Deval Patrick
- OCCUPATION: Legal Professional, Governor
- BIRTH DATE: July 31, 1956 (Age: 57)
- EDUCATION: Milton Academy, Harvard College, Harvard Law School, Mary C. Terrell Elementary
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
- Full Name: Deval Laurdine Patrick
- Full Name: Deval L. Patrick
- AKA: Deval Patrick
- ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
Best Known For
Deval Patrick is governor of Massachusetts and the former U.S. assistant attorney general of civil rights.
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Deval Patrick was born on July 31, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and was later appointed assistant attorney general of civil rights by President Bill Clinton. In 2006, Patrick was elected on the Democratic ticket to the Massachusetts governorship, becoming the first African American to hold the position. He was re-elected in 2010.
"I learned to appreciate education as more than accumulated information and prestige, but instead, to borrow from Robert Frost, as 'learning to listen to anything, without losing your temper or your self-confidence.'"
"To understand civil rights, you must understand how it feels. How it feels to be hounded by uncertainty and fear about whether you will be fairly treated. How it feels to be trapped in someone else's stereotype."
"Massachusetts invented America, and America is not organized the way countries are usually organized. We’re not organized around a common language, a religion or even culture. We’re organized around a handful of civic ideals and we have defined those ideals, over time and through struggle, as equality, opportunity, freedom and fair play."
Deval Laurdine Patrick was born on July 31, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois. His father left the family when Patrick was a child, leaving his mother and grandmother to raise him and his sister in dire financial straits. Patrick was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to attend the prep school Milton Academy in Massachusetts. Despite cultural adjustments and facing racism, Patrick persevered and was accepted into Harvard, focusing on literature and going on to graduate cum laude in 1978.
After receiving a Rockefeller Scholarship, he traveled to Africa before returning to the states to attend Harvard Law School, graduating with honors in 1982. He married Diane Bemus two years later, and the couple would go on to have two daughters.
Deval Patrick earned a federal judge clerkship in California and then worked for the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund beginning in 1983. He later took on a position as partner at the firm Hill and Barlow. In the spring of 1994, Patrick was nominated by President Bill Clinton to become assistant attorney general of civil rights, thereafter receiving confirmation from the Senate.
Though leaving his post in 1997 and re-entering the private sector, doing general counsel work for Texaco and Coca-Cola, Patrick returned to the political landscape with a 2005 announcement of his bid for Massachusetts's governorship on the Democratic ticket. He won by a landslide, breaking a Republican streak of power that had lasted for four terms. He became Massachusetts' first African-American governor and only the second in the United States.
Patrick's first term had some difficulties, with his administration facing criticism over staffing and inappropriate personal spending. And Patrick’s wife struggled with major depression, which she later spoke publicly about.
He also oversaw the health-care reforms initiated by gubernatorial predecessor Mitt Romney and supported Barack Obama in his bid for the U.S. presidency. Patrick was re-elected in 2010. The following year he released the memoir A Reason to Believe: Lessons From an Improbable Life, and in 2012 put forth the short e-book Faith in the Dream: A Call to the Nation to Reclaim American Values.
Patrick has continued to speak of his roots and the importance of affirmative action programs and civil rights work. He has been thrust into the national spotlight due to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and has been called out for his reassuring and resolute tone. He has announced he will not run for the governorship in 2014, with plans to return to private sector work.
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