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Gen. Harry Brooks, Jr.

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Information about Gen. Harry Brooks, Jr.

Profile image of Gen. Harry Brooks, Jr.

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Major General (Retired)

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak (T-Bone)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
I give a damn.

Birthplace

Born:
5/17/1928
Birth Location:
Indianapolis, Indiana

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Major General (Retired)

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak (T-Bone)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
I give a damn.

Birthplace

Born:
5/17/1928
Birth Location:
Indianapolis
See how Gen. Harry Brooks, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Retired Major General Harry W. Brooks, Jr. was born May 17, 1928, in segregated Indianapolis, Indiana. A good student, he attended P.S. 42, P.S. 87 and Crispus Attucks High School, graduating in 1947 as an officer in the ROTC. Joining the United States Army as a private, Brooks soon rose to sergeant and used the provisions of the G.I. Bill to attend college. Noticed because of his baseball prowess, he was invited to Officer Candidates School (OCS) and received his commission as a second lieutenant in 1949. Brooks went on to obtain his B.A. degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1962 and an M.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1973. He also completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program.

Becoming an officer during the U.S. Army’s desegregation efforts, Brooks served in Japan with a logistics command in support of Korea. Serving in Germany as an artillery officer, Brooks also served a tour in Vietnam. His subordinate officers included Colin Powell. While attending the United States War College from 1969 to 1970, he coauthored The Gathering Storm: An Analysis of Racial Instability Within the Army. Appointed Army Director of Equal Opportunity Programs at the Pentagon in 1972, Brooks was promoted to major general in 1974, as the 6th African American general in United States history. As the commanding general of the famed 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, Brooks was responsible for 16,000 men and for ordering 10,000 of them to return to school for high school and associate degrees.

His decorations included: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Legion of Merit Medals, two Bronze Star Medals, and seven Air Medals. Awards from NAACP and Kiwanis recognized Brooks volunteer activities. After retirement in 1976, Brooks became executive vice president of Amfac, Inc. He then founded, with some of his friends, Advanced Consumer Marketing Corporation, which was heralded as the Department of Commerce Minority Business Enterprise of the Year in 1989 and the Black Enterprise Company of the Year in 1990. Married with four adult sons, Brooks was chairman of Brooks International and lived in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brooks passed away on August 28, 2017 at age 89.

See how Gen. Harry Brooks, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry Brooks interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harry Brooks states his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harry Brooks talks about his mother and her Cherokee grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harry Brooks talks about his mother's life and jobs
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harry Brooks recalls his father's origins and strict upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harry Brooks talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harry Brooks recalls his earliest memories growing up in Indianapolis
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harry Brooks details his activities as a boy and his relationship with his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harry Brooks remembers his elementary school and returning to visit as an adult
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harry Brooks talks about his high school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Harry Brooks talks about his role models growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Harry Brooks talks about briefly dropping out of high school to marry but being prevented by his girlfriend's mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Harry Brooks discusses his decision in high school to go into the military
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harry Brooks talks about enlisting in the Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harry Brooks describes his experiences in the Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harry Brooks talks about his first wife
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harry Brooks recalls his experiences in Officer Candidates School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harry Brooks describes his military experiences after being transfered to Japan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harry Brooks details his military duties after returning from Japan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harry Brooks recalls his command success as a colonel and advising Colin Powell
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harry Brooks talks about his military duties in the late 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harry Brooks talks about the scarcity of black generals in the Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harry Brooks talks about racial tensions in the military in the early 1970s and his visit to diffuse a crisis at West Point
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harry Brooks discusses Equal Employment policy changes in the Army, 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harry Brooks discusses his dissertation on military race relations and strategies for dealing with racial tensions in the Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harry Brooks talks about the black military officers under his command
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harry Brooks discusses the Army process for selection of general officers and his own promotion to Brigadier General
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harry Brooks talks about his emphasis on soldiers' education and being a role model to the black troops he commanded
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harry Brooks reflects on his tenure as commander of the 25th Infantry Division
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harry Brooks details changes in his career after retiring from the Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harry Brooks details his activities with the Freedom Forum
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harry Brooks reflects on his concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harry Brooks ponders his legacy and the sacrifices his family's made for his personal success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harry Brooks talks briefly about his religious beliefs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harry Brooks talks about his friendships and how he wishes to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harry Brooks lists the black officers under his command who reached Lt. General or higher in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Photo - Portrait of U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell in his U.S. Army uniform, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - Mr. Greene, father of Harry Brooks, Jr.'s first wife, Doris Elizabeth Greene-Brooks
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. and an unidentified man at the unveiling of his portrait bust at the Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana, February, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. and his son standing in front of the street sign that bears his name, ca. 2000s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. with his wife and son at the unveiling ceremony at the Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana, February, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. posing with his portrait bust at the Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana, February, 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Photo - Harry Brooks with his three sons at his son Harry's wedding, 1988
  • Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. as a U.S. Army corporal, 1948
  • Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Photo - Portrait of Harry Brooks Jr.'s first wife, Doris Elizabeth Greene-Brooks, ca. 1948
  • Tape: 4 Story: 18 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. receiving the Distinguished Service Medal upon his retirement from the U.S. Army, 1976
  • Tape: 4 Story: 19 - Photo - Portrait of Harry Brooks, Jr.'s son, Harry W. Brooks, III, in his U.S. Army uniform, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 20 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. with his first wife and General Bruce Palmer, Jr. at his promotion to brigadier general, ca. 1974
  • Tape: 4 Story: 21 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr.'s father, Harry Brooks, Sr. and unidentified men at his retirement from his position at the post office, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 22 - Photo - Portrait of Harry W. Brooks, Jr., ca. early 1990s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 23 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. awarded a trophy upon being inducted into the Fort Dix Sports Hall of Fame, Fort Dix, New Jersey, ca. 1950s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 24 - Photo - Portrait of General Harry W. Brooks, Jr., commander of the 25th Infantry Division, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, 1976
  • Tape: 4 Story: 25 - Photo - Portrait of Harry Brooks, Jr.'s mother, Nora Elaine Bailey-Brooks
  • Tape: 4 Story: 26 - Photo - Major General Harry W. Brooks, Jr., commander of the 25th Infantry Division, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, ca. 1974-1976
  • Tape: 4 Story: 27 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. with his three sons on a visit to Hawaii, ca. 1989
  • Tape: 4 Story: 28 - Photo - Harry Brooks, Jr. as an infant, Indianapolis, Indiana, ca. 1930
  • Tape: 4 Story: 29 - Photo - Harry Brooks Jr. with his first wife and sons Wayne and Harry Brooks, III, ca. late 1950s