Political and civic leader Alvin L. Brooks was born on May 3, 1932 in North Little Rock, Arkansas to Thomascine Gilder and Wilbur Herring. He was adopted by Estelle and Cluster Brooks, and they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Brooks attended Lincoln Junior College. He went on to receive his B.A. degree in history and government in 1959 and his M.A. degree in sociology in 1973, both from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
From 1954 to 1964, Brooks served as a police officer, and later as a detective, with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. In 1964, he left the police department to serve as a home school coordinator in the Kansas City School District’s pupil services department for one year, before joining the District’s department of urban education as a coordinator of parent, student and community interpretation. In 1968, Brooks was appointed to organize and serve as director of the Kansas City Human Relations Department. He went on to serve as assistant city manager from 1972 to 1991; and, in 1977, he founded the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime (AdHoc). Brooks left city government in 1991 to serve as the executive director of Ad Hoc. In 1999, he was elected to the Kansas City council and appointed as mayor pro-tem. He was re-elected as council member and mayor pro-tem in 2003. In 2010, Brooks was appointed to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners where he served until 2017. Brooks completed an unexpired term on the Hickman Mills C-1 School District Board and was later elected in 2017 to a three year term.
In 1976, Brooks was appointed to serve as chairperson of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights until 1992. Brooks was then appointed by the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee where he served for eighteen years. In 1990, Brooks was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve a three year term on the President’s National Drug Advisory Council. President George H.W. Bush also appointed Brooks as one of the nation’s 1000 Points of Light. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP.
Brooks has received numerous honors including the 2001 Judge Carl R. Johnson Humanitarian award from the NAACP and the 2016 Harry S. Truman Service Award from the City of Independence. He was named Outstanding Kansas Citizen by the Native Sons and Daughters in 2017 and Kansas City Citizen of the Year by the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce in 2019. He also received honorary degrees from Park University, the University of Missouri of Kansas City, the University of Central Missouri, William Jewell College and Rockhurst University. In 2016, Kansas City council declared May 3rd as Alvin L. Brooks Day.
Brooks and his late wife, Carol Rich Brooks, lost their son in 2003, leaving five daughters, seventeen grandchildren, sixty-one great-grandchildren, and sixteen great-great-grandchildren. The Brooks family are active members within the St. Monica Catholic Church.
Alvin Brooks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2019.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School
R.T. Coles Vocational Junior High School
University of Missouri, Kansas City
Lincoln High School
North Little Rock
I've Only Just A Minute, Only Sixty Seconds In It. Forced Upon Me, Can't Refuse It, Didn't Seek It, Didn't Choose It, But It's Up To Me To Use It. I Must Suffer If I Lose It, Give An Account If I Abuse It, Just A Tiny Little Minute, But Eternity Is In It - Dr. Benjamin E. Mays
Political and civic leader Alvin L. Brooks (1932- ) served as a Kansas City, Missouri police officer for ten years, worked for Kansas City government for twenty-seven years, and founded the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime in 1977.
Ad Hoc Group Against Crime
City of Kansas City
Kansas City School District
Kansas City Missouri Police Department