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Deval Laurdine Patrick Edit Profile

also known as Deval Patrick

Governor , lawyer

Deval Laurdine Patrick is the 71st and current Governor of Massachusetts. He is the state's first African-American governor and the second African American to be elected governor of any US state.


PATRICK, DEVAL was born on July 31, 1956 in Chicago, Ilinois.


Harvard College (Bachelor of Arts, 1978). Harvard Law School (Juris Doctor, 1982). Law Clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt, United States.

Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1982-1983.

Patrick was an outstanding student. One of his teachers recalled that even in the sixth grade his studiousness and leadership were obvious. Apparently, so was his ability to persuade an audience; when a school essay contest invited entries on "Why My Father Should Be Father of the Year," Patrick won the competition with a paper entitled "Why My Grandmother Should be Father of the Year."

By eighth grade he was first in his class. A teacher encouraged him to apply to A Better Chance, a scholarship program that sent children of limited means to college preparatory schools.

Patrick's success at Milton paved the way for an equally impressive college career. He applied to five Ivy League universities: Yale, Princeton, Georgetown, Trinity, and Harvard, the one he wanted most because it was his mentor A. O. Smith's alma mater.

His scholastic ability—he graduated cum laude—helped him win a $5,000 Rockefeller Fellowship, which he used to study and travel in Africa.

Legal studies further honed Patrick's skills as a speaker and a leader. His team won a spot in the school's Ames Moot Court finals, a competition in which law students prove their skills by arguing actual cases before a Supreme Court justice. Patrick's team asked him to present the oral argument; he was named best speaker in the competition.

He was also chosen to head Harvard's Legal Aid Bureau, an organization that gives legal services to the needy. In what would become a familiar type of case for him, Patrick defended a fellow Harvard student, also black, after he was arrested while driving with his white girlfriend.


As the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Patric enforced the Americans with Disabilities Act. He led what was (before the September 11, 2001 attacks) the largest federal criminal investigation in history as co-chair of the Task Force investigating the arsons of synagogues and Black churches in the South in the mid-1990s. He had a key role as an adviser to post-apartheid South Africa during this time and helped draft that country's civil rights laws.

In his first term as a Governor of Massachusetts, Patrick oversaw the implementation of the state's 2006 health care reform program which had been enacted under Mitt Romney, increased funding to education and life sciences, won a federal Race to the Top education grant, passed an overhaul of state transportation industries to create the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and increased the state sales tax from 5% to 6.25%. Under Patrick, Massachusetts joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greatly expanded services to veterans. His two legislative battles to implement casino gambling failed: he could not win the approval of the House of Representatives in March 2008, and he vetoed a bill passed by the legislature in August 2010 for going too far.


  • Deval Patrick became the second African-American governor in United States history when he was elected to lead Massachusetts in 2006.


  • California bar , the USA

    1983 - 2012

  • District of Columbia bar , the USA

    1985 - 2012

  • Massachusetts bar , the USA

    1987 - 2012

  • the New England steering committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund , the USA

    1991 - 1993

  • Trustee and executive committee , the USA

    1985 - 2012

  • American Bar Association , the USA

  • Massachusetts Bar Association , the USA

  • Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association , the USA

  • Boston Bar Association , the USA

    1993 - 2012

  • Harvard Club of Boston , the USA

  • Harvard Alumni Association , the USA


  • Writers

    Mark Twain, William Manchester