The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

The Honorable Deval L. Patrick

Deval Patrick was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 31, 1956. His father, a musician, left the family while Patrick was young. Patrick was raised by his mother near the Robert Taylor Homes on Chicago's South Side. While in the eighth grade, Patrick was recruited into a program called A Better Chance, which provided scholarships to inner city students. After attending an elite private school, Milton Academy outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Patrick was accepted to Harvard University, where he earned his A.B. degree in English and American literature in 1978.

After graduating from Harvard, Patrick was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship, where he worked for the United Nations, traveling and living in the Sudan. He returned to the United States in 1979, and enrolled in Harvard Law School, and earned his J.D. degree in 1982. After working as a clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles for a year, Patrick moved to New York City and joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. There, he met, and filed a lawsuit in a voting rights case against then Governor Bill Clinton He remained with the NAACP until 1986, when he joined the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow, P.C. as a partner. He continued his civil rights work, and in 1994, President Clinton appointed Patrick to the position of assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. In this role, Patrick worked to ensure that federal laws banning discrimination were enforced. He also oversaw an investigation into a series of church burnings throughout the South.

In 1997, after three years with the Clinton Administration, Patrick returned to private practice with the Boston law firm of Day, Berry & Howard, where he focused his efforts on major commercial litigation and civil rights compliance issues. Patrick then joined Texaco in 1999 as vice president and general counsel, and in 2001, he became executive vice president, general counsel and secretary to the Coca-Cola Company, where he was responsible for the corporation's worldwide legal affairs. Patrick left Coca-Cola in December of 2004.

Patrick serves on the board of directors of Reebok International, Inc, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and A Better Chance, Inc. He is a trustee of the Ford Foundation, and sits on the board of overseers of Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Patrick is also the recipient of numerous awards and seven honorary degrees.

He and his wife, Diane Beamus Patrick, have two children.

Accession Number

A2004.202

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/14/2004

Last Name

Patrick

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Schools

Du Sable Leadership Academy

Martha M. Ruggles Elementary School

Mary Church Terrell Elementary School

Milton Academy

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Deval

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PAT02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Berkshires, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

To Hew Out Of The Mountain Of Despair A Stone Of Hope.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/31/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Corporate general counsel and governor The Honorable Deval L. Patrick (1956 - ) was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Civil Rights Division. Patrick has since served as general counsel to Texaco, as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary to The Coca-Cola Company, and as the 71st governor of the State of Massachusetts.

Employment

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund

Hill & Barlow, P.C.

United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Day, Berry & Howard

Texaco

Coca-Cola Company

State of Massachusetts

Bain Capital

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:7304,147:11558,174:12622,241:12926,246:13458,254:13914,259:17182,302:19234,349:19614,356:19918,361:20222,367:20830,375:21134,380:28290,444:42690,752:50053,816:50692,828:50976,833:52893,874:56940,955:57437,963:60206,1021:60490,1026:60987,1034:61555,1044:61981,1052:62762,1065:63046,1070:63827,1087:70347,1151:70663,1156:72006,1188:72638,1197:73665,1218:74060,1226:77773,1308:78089,1313:81922,1332:82888,1351:85786,1411:86062,1416:98480,1634$0,0:221,4:1025,18:1829,34:3839,64:5313,191:5782,199:8127,258:8462,270:8730,275:9199,284:13822,423:23588,603:24435,623:24820,633:25282,640:37060,849:37753,869:46538,1031:47222,1043:48742,1084:49502,1100:52156,1116:52372,1121:53020,1143:53452,1151:54208,1218:57124,1273:58840,1281:59285,1287:60353,1306:60887,1313:69520,1572:71567,1612:78070,1660:78370,1665:79195,1681:80395,1705:81895,1737:85231,1775:88714,1857:92714,1914:93236,1921:103067,2126:103676,2135:104024,2140:108030,2146:109290,2177:109770,2186:112266,2217:112562,2246:112858,2251:113746,2269:115300,2303:127972,2479:128910,2493:132461,2568:134136,2602:134538,2609:135007,2617:135409,2625:135677,2630:135945,2635:136883,2658:149404,2823:153040,2844:153280,2849:155380,2880:155740,2886:157120,2949:157540,2957:158080,2971:158740,2984:164306,3080:166618,3111:166958,3117:167230,3122:170358,3203:170698,3209:171038,3215:171378,3221:171854,3232:174302,3306:176206,3340:177430,3362:177974,3370:181714,3454:182122,3462:188160,3491:189030,3503:189900,3517:190248,3522:191205,3537:198822,3687:199578,3699:200502,3713:200922,3719:203106,3748:204030,3763:211814,3864:212782,3877:215510,3922:216214,3933:216830,3941:217534,3950:222250,3973:223030,3989:223330,3995:224230,4015:225070,4029:226510,4070:227710,4103:228010,4109:228490,4118:236671,4208:237035,4213:238764,4234:248319,4417:256510,4492
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226980">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating for The Honorable Deval L. Patrick's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226981">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226982">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226983">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226984">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226985">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his father's gift for listening</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226986">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226987">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about his grandfather's job at South Shore Bank in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226988">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about the apartments he lived in as a child in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226989">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his childhood neighborhood of Washington Park, Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226990">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226991">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his experiences in elementary school in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226992">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes the origin of his first name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226993">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226994">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about his childhood interests and aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226995">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick reflects on his influences from his childhood in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226996">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about growing up near the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226997">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls gang activity from his childhood in Washington Park, Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226998">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls the effect of civil strife in the 1960s on his neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/226999">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about why he chose to leave Chicago, Illinois for high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227000">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes the history of Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227001">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about his scholarship and involvement with A Better Chance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227002">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes the process of adjusting to Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227003">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about the influence of his English teacher, A.O. Smith, at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227004">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls returning to Chicago, Illinois while on breaks from boarding school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227005">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick reflects on the impact that attending Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts had on his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227006">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes the educational standards of Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227007">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about how he came to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227008">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls his experience attending Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227009">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about receiving a Rockefeller Fellowship to live in Sudan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227010">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his experience working for a job training program in Sudan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227011">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick remembers traveling in Egypt during his year abroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227012">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes applying to Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts while living in Sudan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227013">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his experiences at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227014">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about his summer jobs in corporate law while attending Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227015">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his tenure as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227016">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick explains his reasons for working at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227017">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his job as a clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt on United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227018">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick reflects on what he learned as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227019">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls memorable cases from his tenure at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227020">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about joining the law firm Hill and Barlow in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227021">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his rise to partner at Hill and Barlow in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227022">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his responsibilities at Hill and Barlow in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227023">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about being considered for the position of United States attorney for Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227024">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls being nominated as United States assistant attorney general for civil rights</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227025">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls being confirmed as United States assistant attorney general in 1994</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227026">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his experiences as United States assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227027">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls accompanying President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton to a commencement at Gallaudet University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227028">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about advising President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton on the appointment of Justice Stephen Breyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227029">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes forming the National Church Arson Task Force</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227030">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his work advising on affirmative action as United States assistant attorney general</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227031">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick recalls President Bill Clinton's speech on affirmative action at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227032">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about the effects of serving as United States assistant attorney general on his personal life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227033">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his tenure working for Texaco</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227034">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his tenure as general counsel for The Coca-Cola Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227035">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick reflects on the responsibilities for African American leaders whose careers symbolize success and progress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227036">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describe some of the challenges faced by The Coca-Cola Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227037">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about the duties of a general counsel at a major corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227038">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick reflects on the progress made by African Americans in the corporate realm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227039">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227040">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/227041">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deval L. Patrick reflects upon his legacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

1$8

DATitle
The Honorable Deval L. Patrick describes applying to Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts while living in Sudan
The Honorable Deval L. Patrick talks about advising President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton on the appointment of Justice Stephen Breyer
Transcript
You took this year off. You get back, right? And--$$I decided while I was over there that I wanted to go to law school.$$Okay.$$And in the true, sort of, you know, Harvard College [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] keeping all your options open behavior, I had brought in my backpack one application to one law school (laughter). And when I knew that, that we were going out to western Sudan, and there would be no mail or phone service, I decided to, that night, the night before we left Khartoum [Sudan], to go out and fill out this application and send it in. So I went out behind this little hostel where I was staying, and I made a big--and there was no electricity--made a big mound of sand. And I took my fat flashlight and put that on top of the mound of, of sand so I would have, you know, light on my work surface, which was on the ground. And I filled out this application by hand. It was a mess. I'm (laughter) sure it was covered with bugs I swatted and all that. And then I gave it the next morning before we left to somebody who knew somebody who was going to London [England] where they would mail it, because the mail service thing was a little more reliable from London. And in fact, I mailed it to Jim Vorenberg [James Vorenberg], and I said, "If you think I should, then please submit this application." And when I got to Khartoum months later, and I collected all my mail from the poste restante, there was a telegram for me saying, and it was from my mother [Emily Wintersmith Patrick] actually saying congratulations, you've been admitted to Harvard Law School [Cambridge, Massachusetts].$The faculty's all lined up in the kitchen to process out to the graduation [at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.]. And the president [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] starts shaking hands, one at a time, every single faculty member's hand. Still don't know what I'm supposed to do, so the aide says, "Come stand down here," and she puts me down at the end of the receiving line. The president shakes the last hand, and then turns. And the aide says, "Mr. President, here's [HistoryMaker] Mr. [Deval L.] Patrick." And the president says, "Oh, Deval." He said, "I hoped you would be here." And then at just that moment somebody else says, "Right this way, Mr. President." They hold open the doors to the men's room. So he strolls, strides into the men's room. There are two Secret Service on the other side of the door. And just as the door is closing, he grabs the door, and he looks out at me, and says, (finger motions to come here). So in he goes and I go; it's just the two of us in the men's room. He's at the urinal. He starts talking to me, and he says, look. He said, "I've got this vacancy on the [U.S.] Supreme Court," he says, "and I've got to fill it." And I said, "Oh yeah, I've been reading about that." And he said "Well, I'm down to three finalists, but I'm really only focused on two of 'em. And I want to ask you," he said, "you know this guy, [Justice Stephen] Breyer, don't you?" And I said, "Oh yeah, I've known him for years. I've worked with him. I've appeared before him and so on." He said, "Well, what do you think? Would he do a good job?" And I said, "Mr. President, I think he'd be a fine, a fine justice. And I think, frankly, he'd be great on our stuff in the civil rights division because he's fair and because he's respectful of precedent." And I said, "And I'd be proud to say that publicly if that's what you need." I said, "But sir, if you're asking me, (laughter) I'd say you've already made up your mind." He said, "No, no, I've really gotta decide." So, he said, "But I'd heard you'd say good things about Breyer, but I'm struggling." And he began to talk about some of the others that he was thinking about, including about a judge from Arkansas, federal judge from Arkansas. And at that point, the valet had come in with his cap and his gown and was getting him together. And I said, "Well, Mr. President, I'll just give you some advice." I said, "If you do choose Judge Breyer, say to the press why you chose Judge Breyer, not why you didn't choose the other ones who are being speculated about. The press, the public doesn't need to know your whole reasoning. Just focus on him." He said, "Well, that's good advice." Of course, he didn't take it, but that's good advice. So off we go. He does the procession. He finishes the speech. We all pile back into the cars, get back to the White House [Washington, D.C.], and then I have to hustle off to the airport because I had something in Boston [Massachusetts] that night. And I'm coming from the airport through the tunnel, and the radio is on in the taxi. It's about five o'clock, and the, and the announcer says we interrupt the broadcast to go to the White House South Lawn for a special announcement. And the president says I'm pleased to announce the nomination, my intent to nominate Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court. I thought, oh my goodness (laughter), this just happened. So, I had to get back to Washington [D.C.] that night because the next day, the next morning, I was going with the president to I think it was Indianapolis [Indiana]. So, I go out to Andrews [Air Force Base; Joint Base Andrews, Maryland], up to Air Force One. These are all first experiences for me. And Air Force One is a series of sort of living rooms. And I'm given a seat in one of these living rooms, and there are TV monitors all around the walls. And it's all broadcasting news about Stephen Breyer's nomination. The plane starts to move, which means the president gets on. You have to be on beforehand, and as soon as he's on it starts going. And he comes striding into this living room where I am. And of course, I'm the only one in my seatbelt with my tray table in its upright position, and my (laughter) seatbelt locked. Everybody else is walking around. The plane's moving. And he comes in, and he shakes my hand. And he points up at the monitor, and he says, "You see that, Deval?" He said, "You did that." And I thought, wow.