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Gov. Patrick chronicles his life in new book

Associated Press | 4/12/2011, 7:07 p.m.

When the public spotlight intensified after he won the governor’s race, Diane Patrick became ill and had to be admitted to McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont. At first the couple tried to keep the situation under wraps but they eventually went public.

Race also plays a role in his book.

Patrick, the state’s first black governor, said he experienced prejudice and bigotry at various times in his life, including during family trips when he was too young to fully appreciate Jim Crow-era racism, to the times he said he was stopped by Milton police officers and asked for identification.

Those experiences even included a campaign ad run during his first campaign that he said “played into racist fears about black men and white women.”

“The curse of being black is always having to wonder whether the things that go wrong in your life are account of your race,” he writes in his book.

But Patrick said he doesn’t want a racial struggle to be the central message of his book. He said he tried to resist the labeling that occurred after his 2006 election when he and then-candidate Barack Obama, who was also a friend, were portrayed as the new face of post-Civil Rights era black political leadership.

Patrick called the label “a box too confining for me and certainly for this president” and said he’s both benefited from the struggles of past generations and has also participated in the same struggle.

“Race is a part of who I am so it is part of my story, but it has not consumed me. It has not been the sole defining characteristic of my life,” he said. “I have been fortunate to have so many positive experiences with so many kinds of people from around the world that one of the takeaways for me is how much we have in common.”

Associated Press