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The Honorable Edward Brooke

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Information about The Honorable Edward Brooke

Profile image of The Honorable Edward Brooke

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Senator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lamb
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Martin, French West Indies
Favorite Quote:
You do what you have to do.

Birthplace

Born:
10/26/1919
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Senator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lamb
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Martin, French West Indies
Favorite Quote:
You do what you have to do.

Birthplace

Born:
10/26/1919
Birth Location:
Washington
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Biography

Edward Brooke, III was born in Washington, D.C., on October 26, 1919. His father, Edward Brooke, Jr., was an attorney for the Veterans Administration for more than fifty years, and his mother, Helen, later worked on all of Brooke’s political campaigns. Brooke entered Howard University at the age of sixteen, and earned his B.A. degree in sociology in 1941. After graduation, Brooke entered the U.S. Army and was sent overseas. A decorated captain in the all-black 366th Combat Infantry Regiment, Brooke defended men in military tribunals. During the Italian campaign, Brooke disguised himself as an Italian, crossing enemy lines to meet with the Italian Partisans and facing Nazi and Fascist troops.

Returning from World War II and experienced in legal proceedings, Brooke enrolled in Boston University Law School, earning an LL.B. in 1948 and an LL.M. a year later, as well as serving as the editor of the school’s Law Review. While practicing law in Boston, Brooke began seeking political office. Despite good showings in several races between 1950 and 1960, he failed to win. However, in 1960, he was appointed chairman of the Boston Finance Commission, where he exposed corruption in many city departments. His popularity high from his work there, Brooke was elected to the office of Massachusetts Attorney General, becoming the first African American to hold that post in the nation. He remained in the office for two terms, and in 1966, he won election to the U.S. Senate, where he was the first African American to be elected by popular vote, the first to be seated since Reconstruction and later the only to be re-elected.

During his first term in the Senate, Brooke spent a great deal of time on the issue of the Vietnam War, traveling to Asia on fact-finding missions. Upon his return, he requested that the United States cease using napalm. He also began calling for an end to trade with South Africa because of its apartheid policies. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the National Commission on Civil Disorders, which made recommendations that ultimately took shape as the 1968 Civil Rights Act. Brooke later challenged Richard Nixon's Supreme Court nominees Hainsworth and Carswell, even though he had supported Nixon’s bid for the presidency. Brooke later became the first senator to call for Nixon’s resignation. Leaving Congress in 1979, Brooke spent another six years in private practice before retiring.

Brooke received thirty-four honorary degrees from the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities and numerous other awards, including the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP and the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit from the Italian Government. In 2000, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts dedicated a courthouse in his honor.

Brooke passed away on January 3, 2015 at the age of 95.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Brooke
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke identifies five favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke provides information about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke shares information about his paternal lineage and father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke reflects on his childhood in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke discusses childhood activities and heroes
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Brooke describes the personalities of his mother and father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Brooke talks experiences and influences at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke describes himself as a student in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke identifies a high school mentor
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke talks about commuting as a student to Howard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke reflects on sports at Howard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke remembers notable professors at Howard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke discusses his college involvement in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Brooke talks about the significance of black organizations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke discusses his entrance into the Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke describes degregation in the army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke shares stories about his army experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke shares stories of discrimination while serving in the army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke talks about the low morale of the black troops
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke recounts leading a band of Italian partisans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke reflects on the historical service of blacks in the military
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke retells a story of a suprise attack on the enemy while stationed in Italy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke details the reluctance to use black troops for combat duty
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke describes the mix of emotions upon returning home after the war
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke shared details about his black combat unit
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke discusses meeting and marrying an Italian woman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke recounts his decision to attend law school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke talks about living in the Roxbury district of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke discusses entering private legal practice
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke talks about running for public office
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke describes his involvement in Massachusetts politics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke comments on the impact of his wife's race on his campaigns
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke talks about running for Secretary of State
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke describes some of the challenges he faced while investigating corruption
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke discusses being elected Attorney General for Massachusetts
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke talks about the Boston Strangler case
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke discusses politics in Massachusetts
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke talks about the Voting Rights Act
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke talks about the importance of economic and political power
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke highlights the contributions of individuals to black political and economic progress
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke comments on Barry Goldwater
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke comments on black elected officials
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Edward Brooke discusses his path to the Senate
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Edward Brooke discusses his constituency
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Edward Brooke talks about political opposition in 1966
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke explains his approach to public office
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke talks about opposition to his run for the United States Senate
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke discusses the Vietnam war
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke identifies issues he confronted while running for the United States Senate
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke talks about the Watts riot
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke discusses black voters and the two major political parties
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Edward Brooke talks about the Kennedy family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Edward Brooke discusses black voter support and black representation
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke outlines key issues for future black Senatorial candidates
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke discusses his contentious relationship with Richard Nixon
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Edward Brooke details his stature and influence in the Republican Party
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Edward Brooke reveals his abhorrence for the Republican Southern Strategy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Edward Brooke discusses Richard Nixon's strengths and weaknesses
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Edward Brooke remembers his advice to Richard Nixon to resign the Presidency
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Edward Brooke recounts his views on the Vietnam War and a meeting with Lyndon Johnson
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Edward Brooke notes highlights from his Senate career
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Edward Brooke shares his hopes and concerns for society
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Edward Brooke reflects on his legacy