chapter  8
18 Pages

Between Generations: Deval Patrick’s Election as Massachusetts’ First Black Governor

WithANGELA K. LEWIS

On November 6, 2006, the voters of Massachusetts made history for only the second time in the United States, electing a Black governor. Deval Patrick, a political novice virtually unknown before the election, stated he did not campaign as the Black candidate; in fact, he said, “If all I was off ering was to be the fi rst Black governor of Massachusetts, I wouldn’t have won” (Pierce 2006). Did Patrick’s candidacy transcend race? Can scholars classify his campaign as one that represents a new era in Black leadership? In the pages that follow, I show the innovations of the Patrick campaign. For two years, Patrick ran a grassroots campaign, visiting neighborhoods and speaking to voters about restoring hope back and making Massachusetts better. Along the way, he rejected large monetary donations from supporters and survived a brutally negative racial smear campaign from his main rival.