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The Honorable Howard Brookins, Sr.

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Information about The Honorable Howard Brookins, Sr.

Profile image of The Honorable Howard Brookins, Sr.

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Senator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Peas (Black-Eyed)
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Hello, how are you?

Birthplace

Born:
6/6/1932
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Senator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Peas (Black-Eyed)
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Hello, how are you?

Birthplace

Born:
6/6/1932
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how The Honorable Howard Brookins, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Howard Beamon Brookins was born on June 6, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois. The son of Howard and Leona Brookins, he attended DuSable High School and Wilson Junior College (now Kennedy-King) before being drafted into the United States Army. Serving during the Korean War, Brookins had an opportunity to become an officer, but changed his mind when the fighting ceased. Brookins returned to Chicago to resume his education, attending Chicago State University and Cortez Peters Business College. He supported himself by working at the U.S. Post Office. In 1958, one of Brookins’ co-workers suggested that he take the Chicago Police Exam. He passed and joined the Chicago Police Department. The same year, he also married Audrey Mason, his wife for over forty years.

Brookins remained on the police force for twelve years. During this time, the Reverend Louis Rawls offered him a job as a funeral driver. Rawls later suggested that Brookins start his own business as a mortician. Brookins enrolled at the Worsham College of Mortuary Science while still on the police force. In 1970, Brookins bought a funeral home on the South Side of Chicago.

After endorsing and supporting candidates such as Niles Sherman and Gus Savage, Brookins decided to run for office himself. In 1982, he ran for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives and won, serving there through 1986. He then decided to run for the Illinois Senate and, once again, he was successful. While in office, Brookins was Chairman of the Transportation Committee. He also served on the Veteran’s Affairs, Appropriations and Labor Committees. One of his achievements was the passage of a bill to allow voters to register anywhere in the State of Illinois. This resulted in the registration of a record number of African Americans in Illinois.

Since leaving the Illinois General Assembly in 1992, Brookins has remained active as the owner of the Brookins Funeral Home. He and his wife are the parents of three children, Howard Jr., Andrea and Rhonda. He is affiliated with several organizations and serves on the boards of the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Illinois Department of Corrections and Little Company of Mary Hospital. He is also a Mason.

Brookins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 7, 2000.

See how The Honorable Howard Brookins, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Howard Brookins interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Howard Brookins's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howard Brookins recalls his parents and grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howard Brookins remembers his mother and father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howard Brookins recalls his Chicago childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howard Brookins describes himself as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Howard Brookins shares his recent losses of family members
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Howard Brookins remembers his high school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Howard Brookins describes several childhood mentors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Howard Brookins describes his military service
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Howard Brookins talks about joining the Chicago Police Department
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Howard Brookins's opinion of law enforcement as a career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Howard Brookins tells about leaving the Chicago Police Department and buying a funeral home
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Howard Brookins discusses the role of a funeral director
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Howard Brookins highlights the lack of professional role models in the black community
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Howard Brookins explains how he got involved in politics
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Howard Brookins details the reach of the legislature in a citizen's daily life
  • Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Howard Brookins describes the political machinations behind creating the Illinois state budget
  • Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Howard Brookins details the history of black legislators in the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Howard Brookins remembers some of his legislative successes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howard Brookins is dismayed with the current crop of black Illinois politicians
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howard Brookins's hopes and dreams for the African American community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howard Brookins describes his legacy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howard Brookins talks about Dr. Louis Rawls
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Photo - Howard Brookins and his brother Donald Brookins at Christmas time, Chicago, Illinois, December, 1937
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Photo - Howard Brookins and his kindergarten class from Burke Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1938
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Photo - Howard Brookins as a member of the Chicago Police Department, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1958-1970
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Photo - Howard Brookins, Chicago Alderman Niles Sherman, and radio broadcaster, Jack Brickhouse, Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Photo - Howard Brookins with other elected officials for the State of Illinois, Springfield, Illinois, ca. 1982-1983
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Photo - Howard Brookins with family and friends who attended his swearing-in ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois, ca. 1993
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Photo - Howard Brookins, James Couch, Roland Burris and others present at a passing of the gavel
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Photo - Howard Brookins, Carol Moseley Braun and unidentified man
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Photo - Howard Brookins and other Illinois state senators after a trip to Zaire, Springfield, Illinois, ca. 1983-1986
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Photo - Howard Brookins at his desk, Springfield, Illinois, ca. 1983-1986
  • Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Photo - Howard Brookins receiving a campaign endorsement from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Chicago, Illinois, ca. early 1980s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Photo - Howard Brookins receiving a campaign endorsement from Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, Chicago, Illinois, 1982
  • Tape: 2 Story: 17 - Photo - Howard Brookins speaking before the Illinois State Senate, Springfield, Illinois, ca. 1982-1983
  • Tape: 2 Story: 18 - Photo - Howard Brookins speaking before the Illinois State Senate, Springfield, Illinois, ca. 1983-1986
  • Tape: 2 Story: 19 - Photo - Howard Brookins with his granddaughter visiting the Illinois State Senate, Springfield, Illinois, 1983-1986
  • Tape: 2 Story: 20 - Photo - Howard Brookins's campaign poster for Illinois State Representative, 1982
  • Tape: 2 Story: 21 - Photo - Howard Brookins with his family at a political fundraiser
  • Tape: 2 Story: 22 - Photo - Portrait of Howard Brookins wearing his Masonic lodge fez
  • Tape: 2 Story: 23 - Photo - Howard Brookins showing off his model trains, Chicago, Illinois