Press Release

Douglas J. Patton, author The White Guy in the Room:  A Political Memoir, continues National Tour



20 September 2016



“No civil rights movement has gotten anywhere without the help of white liberals,” Kenya Barris, creator of the provocative sitcom Black-ish recently told the New Yorker magazine.  Douglas J. Patton, author of The White Guy in the Room: A Political Memoir and long-time political operative, is one of those folks about whom Barris is speaking.


Whether it was his involvement as a volunteer organizer with the famed Poor People’s March, managing the campaign of the District of Columbia’s first African-American congressional representative, to leading the effort to train blacks in how to position themselves to become delegates at national conventions, regardless of party affiliation, Patton always seemed to be the white guy in the room.


His memoir is a timely book that charts his personal, racial and political transformation. Patton rose from rose from pre-civil rights era farm boy to become somewhat of a legend in local and national politics.  Through guile, impeccable timing, and sheer good luck, became a Washington insider and key player in one of the most significant events of the civil rights movement. He was also architect of winning strategies of many modern political campaigns for African-American candidates.


Since the release of his book, Patton has been appearing before standing-room only crowds in the District of Columbia, Illinois and Iowa. In October, he will return to DC. His book has been selected by The Almost Read Book Club (ARBC):  an eclectic collection of some of the region’s and nation’s most successful African-American women. 


More specifically, Patton will travel to New York City for a private book reception on Oct. 13, 2016 at the home of Jay and Amy Regan. He’ll return to Washington, D.C. where his book will be the focus of a lively book party on October 14th at the home Max Berry—another of those white liberals who helped fuel black empowerment in the District and across the country. The following day, Oct. 14, Patton’s book will be featured at the meeting of The Almost Read Book Club (ARBC).


Using vivid language, historical details, and little known facts, The White Guy in the Room: A Political Memoir offers insights into the strategic roles of whites, like Mr. Patton, in the civil rights movement that helped move the country forward.  Without many of them, the road traveled by African-Americans would have been much harder.  Together, whites and blacks sculpted an America of which they could be proud.  And so Patton’s memoir is not just his own—it belongs to all those Americans who rolled up their sleeves and assumed the responsibility for trying to create a remarkable future.


In the era of Donald Trump and facing a divided nation, the story Patton tells is instructive, offering a glimpse of the days when some blacks and whites were at odds and how they came together to create what some have called American Exceptionalism.


“From the Black Lives Matter protests to the waning days of Barack Obama’s post-racial America, the time is ripe to examine how we have arrived at this point in our politics, but more importantly, in our race relations.  My story provides a unique lens through which we can examine some of that history,” says Patton.


# # #


Douglas J. Patton is the consummate political insider.  For over 40 years he has managed or worked on dozens of local and national campaigns.  His presidential campaigns range from Hubert Humphrey to Barack Obama.  His work with African-American candidates after the civil rights battles and social turmoil of the late 60’s helped usher in a new wave of elected leaders like Congressman Walter Fauntroy, the iconic D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, and even President Barack Obama.  Patton earned his law degree from the University of Iowa in 1970.  Working for some of the most prestigious firms in America, his practice focused on legislative and regulatory affairs with emphasis on land use and economic development.  In 1999 he was tapped by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to serve as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.  He has been a lobbyist, cable company owner, and for eighteen years was a U.S. House of Representatives ex-officio appointee to the Federal Elections Commission.



Praise for The White Guy in the Room: A Political Memoir…


“Doug Patton’s memoir tells a little-told charter in American history: In the 1960s and 1970s, when the civil rights struggle had become a conflict over power in U.S. cities, a cadre of white liberals played crucial roles in advancing the black cause. Rather than bleeding heart liberals, they believed in democracy and used their political and financial expertise to advance African-American candidate.


Patton’s well-told account is a must read for anyone interested in race, urban studies and political sacrifice.”

Harry Jaffe

Author, Why Bernie Sanders Matters





The White Guy in the Room:  A Political Memoir

By Douglas J. Patton

Available at

Price: 26.95/Hardcover

Pages:  267

ISBN:  978-0-9975284-0-4


To schedule an interview

Call 202-320-1065