This article examines the rhetorical strategies and legislative initiatives of Deval Patrick and his efforts to represent black interests in Massachusetts. Utilizing speech content analysis, census data, interview data, and archives of executive and legislative actions, the article identifies that Massachusetts’ only black governor has been able to advance policies and programs designed to represent black interests. The results indicate that when black interest policy actions are framed utilizing a targeted universalistic rhetorical strategy, Patrick advanced black interests as he detailed how his proposed initiatives benefited all citizens. At the state level, the finding exposes the limits of the deracialization perspective and indicates how the legislative, judicial, and executive advance of black interests can be achieved while maintaining significant white electoral and governing support.


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