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Brig. Gen. Leo Brooks, Jr.

Brigadier General (Ret.) Leo A. Brooks, Jr. was born on August 15, 1957 in Anchorage, Alaska. His father, Leo A. Brooks, Sr., was an Army Brigadier General; his mother, Naomi, was a schoolteacher. Brooks’ younger brother, Vincent K. Brooks, served as a Four Star General in the U.S. Army; his sister, Marquita, a lawyer. After graduating from Jesuit high school in Sacramento, California in 1975, Brooks enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his B.S. degree in engineering in 1979.

Brooks began his military career with the 101st Airborne Division, and served in developmental positions from platoon leader to infantry company commander. From 1984 to 1988, Brooks was assigned to the 1st Battalion 75th Infantry Ranger Regiment as a logistics officer and then as Commander of A Company. He was then deployed to Korea where he served on the Joint Staff of the Combined Forces Command. While there he earned his M.A. degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1990. In 1992, Brooks completed the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Brooks then reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for duty with the 82nd Airborne Division where he was assigned as executive officer in the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and then became deputy operations officer of the Division. He was subsequently selected to serve as aide-de-camp to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1993-1995. Brooks returned to the 82nd Airborne Division and was named Commander of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, followed by a key staff assignment as Chief of Operations for the XVIII Airborne Corps. He completed the U.S. Army War College in 1999 and returned a third time to the 82nd Airborne Division and assumed command of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Following command, he was selected for Brigadier General and deployed to Europe as Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division in 2001. In 2002, Brooks was appointed the 68th Commandant of Cadets at West Point. Brooks then reported to the Office of the Chief of Staff at the Pentagon where he served as Vice Director of Army Staff until retiring in 2006. He went on to become Vice President of National Security & Space Group for the Boeing Company in Washington, D.C.

Brooks was a senior fellow from the Maxwell School of Government at Syracuse University; and has an honorary law degree from the New England School of Law, Boston. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Medal and Bronze Star, the War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Multinational Force and Observers Medal and the Korea Defense Service Medal.

U.S. Army Brigadier General (Ret.) Leo A. Brooks, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 23, 2013

Accession Number

A2013.168

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/23/2013

Last Name

Brooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Syracuse University

U.S. Army War College

University of Oklahoma

United States Military Academy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Leo

Birth City, State, Country

Anchorage

HM ID

BRO54

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alaska

Favorite Vacation Destination

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Favorite Quote

I'll help you if you let me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/15/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken Tenders

Short Description

Brigadier general Brig. Gen. Leo Brooks, Jr. (1957 - ) graduated from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and served in several command assignments; including as the Commander of airborne brigades in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions; the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division in Germany; and, the Commandant of Cadets at the USMA.

Employment

Boeing Company

United States Army

United States Military Academy

1st Armored Division, United States Army Europe

82nd Airborne Division, United States Army

XVIII Airborne Corps

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leo Brooks, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his mother's growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, her education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his family's interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his father's growing up in Virginia, and his family's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his parents dating while at Virginia State College and getting married after his mother graduated from college

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his uncle, Jimmy Lewis' career in basketball, and his family's induction into the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses his father's retirement from the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his father's assignment in Anchorage, Alaska

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his early childhood in Xenia, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. recalls his preschool in Xenia, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his father leaving for Vietnam, and his memories of living in Arlington, Virginia in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his childhood at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his life in Bryn Mawr Park, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. recalls the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his close-knit family and spending time with them in Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his teacher, Ms. Adeline Waters, in elementary school, and being mischievous

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his interest in sports, playing football in high school, and his football idol, Larry Brown

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his experience as an athlete in high school and the support he received from his family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his family's move to Sacramento, California where he continued to play football

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his high school in Sacramento, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses the influence of sports on his military career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the influence of his football coaches

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the influence of his track coaches in training him

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his academics in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his decision to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his decision to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about graduating from high school in Sacramento, his trip to West Point Military Academy, and his uncle's advice

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes the challenges he faced at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the bond between the athletes at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about being criticized at West Point, and proving his leadership skills at Camp Buckner

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about West Point's honor code and the Academy's admission of women

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about with West Point's honor code violations and the Borman Commission

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his sophomore year at the United States Military Academy at West Point and his mentors there

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Ranger School and Airborne School, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Ranger School and Airborne School, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about staying involved in athletics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his brother, Vincent Brooks, joining him at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his playing rugby in his sophomore year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his love for the game

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his academic, athletic and leadership successes at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about graduating from West Point in 1979, his friend, Lloyd Darlington, and his surrogate mother, Bobby Pollock

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the challenges faced within the U.S. Army in the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the turnaround of the U.S. Army in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about becoming the platoon leader of B Company in the 1st Battalion, 503 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his disciplinary philosophy as the platoon leader of B Company in the 1st Battalion, 503 Infantry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Air Assault School and his assignment as aide-de-camp to the Assistant Division Commander for Operations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his appointment as a company commander and other black infantry company commanders

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Infantry Officer Advance Course with his brother

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending the U.S. Army Jumpmaster School and his assignment to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as a Ranger company commander, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as a Ranger company commander, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his assignment in Korea, and the birth of his four daughters

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Command and General Staff College in the early 1990s

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience in the 82nd Airborne Division

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his assignment as the aide-de-camp of the chief of staff of the U.S. Army

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the aide-de-camp of the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gordon R. Sullivan, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the aide-de-camp of the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gordon R. Sullivan, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his experience as the commander of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and other significant commands

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon the high percentage of African Americans in the United States armed services

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about becoming a lieutenant colonel, serving as chief of operations for the 18th Airborne Corps and attending the Army War College

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about being selected to become a brigade commander in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his assignment as the special assistant to the commanding general, 1st Armor Division in Germany

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the special assistant to the commanding general, 1st Armor Division in Germany

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, while he was serving with the 1st Armor Division in Germany

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes the U.S. Army's plans for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about being assigned as the chief of staff of the Fifth Corps in Europe, and reassigned as the commandant of cadets at West Point

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes he roles of the superintendent, the dean and the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the challenges at West Point while he was the commandant of cadets

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about international students at West Point

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his faith in the role of the Army chaplains

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon his disciplinary philosophy of commanding positions in the U.S. Army

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon the high ethical standards and moral codes of the U.S. military and the obligation of all citizens to serve their country

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon some of the challenging rules and regulations of the U.S. military

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon issues of sexual harassment in the U.S. military

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses his role as the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses the history of African American cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his service as the vice director of the Army staff, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his service as the vice director of the Army staff, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his retirement from the U.S. Army in 2006 and working as the vice president of Army Systems at the Boeing Company

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about Apache Block III helicopters and his work as vice president of Army Systems at the Boeing Company

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his position as the vice president of the National Security and Space Group at the Boeing Company

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. shares his message to the youth

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his daughters

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his youngest daughter, Amanda

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon his professional legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. acknowledges the support of his family and his faith in God

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the influence of his football coaches
Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as a Ranger company commander, pt. 1
Transcript
What about coaches and such? I mean were they mentors or--$$So, so when I was in--I'll go back, if you don't mind, I'll go back a couple of coaches when I think of coaches. I had a coach when I was youth league. His name was Buddy. I don't even know what his last name was. But anyway, Buddy, when I was probably sixth grade, used to tell me that I wouldn't, I wouldn't amount to much. He was very negative. And I can always recall feeling down and like I couldn't, like you know, every--the world was on my shoulders and that I, you know, I'd never be successful because Buddy said I wouldn't be. And then something happened that was very interesting. So when I got into high school, I had this guy. He says, ah, you're not gonna make it, you know. When I got into high school, again, I was very fast, small, I was ninety-nine pounds [weight] when I started high school. By the time I was, in my second year, I can remember vividly, I was 126 [pounds]. As a junior, I was 152. As a senior, I was 165. So my senior year, I was 165 pounds (unclear). So I grew sixty-six pounds from my freshmen year football to my senior year football, in those four years. So anyway, I had this real negative experience with that guy. It wasn't reinforcing. And when I was at Thomas Jefferson [High School, Northern Virginia], I had a coach by the name of Rayburn, Coach Rayburn. Coach Rayburn was a good influence on me as a man. We weren't, wasn't, I won't say we had the best, wasn't the best coach, but he was a, he had a good influence on me in terms of being a good, decent human. Now, you're talking that time period, remember this is 1971-ish, '72 [1972] time period, a lot of racial strife. Some of that manifested itself in my high school a little bit. We had a small group of African American students, very, you know, maybe fifty, you know, out of a population of 1,000 or so. That group tended to sit together in the mess hall, I mean in the cafeteria or wherever, right. Well, I'm an athlete. So I'm sitting with my friends, you know, my teammates. I can recall vividly one time where my coach had heard a rumor that somebody had called me an ethnic slur, called me in and asked me. He says, hey, did someone call you a chocolate drop or something like that. That's exactly what he said. I can still hear him saying it. I go, Coach, what are you talking about? And what somebody had said was is, said, you're a reverse, says we got a reverse Oreo here. One white guy was on one side of me and one white guy was on the other side of me. And I'm black in the middle, and says, we got a reverse Oreo here. He heard that. That rumor got back to him and he was, you know, he wasn't having anything to do with that. So he was like really on, making sure we didn't have, you know, we were focused on team, individuals being collective as a group, not racial stuff. But so he was a decent influence as a human, not a great coach. Bob Seveari (ph.) was my coach in, when I was in Sacramento [California].$$At Jesuit.$$At Jesuit, Jesuit High School. That's where I learned about being a winner.$So I started out as a Ranger company commander in 2000--in 1986 and, at Alpha Company, and had something really tragic happen very early in my command. We were actually doing a rehearsal, a real-world rehearsal for a real operation--rescue operation. And part of that rehearsal involved using explosive charges. And in an explosion that I actually had the, was talking on a radio and gave the command for the explosive device to be set off. A piece of shrapnel from the explosion actually blew back, a bunch of it, right back where I was laying with my assault unit. And I had, the radio that I gave the command to detonate this thing, was on the back of a young PFC [private first class] named Michael Ruddis (ph.). And a piece of shrapnel hit Ruddis right here on his left side, right next to me. And my shoulder was touching his shoulder literally, as we were laying next to each other and killed him, cut his aorta and killed him. And on my immediate left side was another young man who had another piece of shrapnel hit him and tra--you know, traumatically amputated his hand, his right hand. And so, and then there was a lieutenant that got hit in the head by a piece of shrapnel from that same explosion. And the thing I'll never forget about that was, another one of my heroes is a guy by the name of Joe Stringum (ph.). And Joe Stringum was the ranger regimental commander, fearless wartime hero from Vietnam. He's not a commander of the range regiment. So as this accident occurs, and again, this is a rehearsal for a real op, it was in Dugway, Utah and we're doing it. I called in the Medivac [medical evacuation] to extract my wounded, and PFC Ruddis after we were treating him and the other soldier. And the range regimental commander didn't see it, but he was in the general area. So he came over to the location where I was. I'll never forget this. You know, we're still dealing with the tragic, tragedy of this, you know. And I'd been, I hadn't experienced this kind of thing, per se, before. And he looked right at me. He goes, okay, Ranger, tell me, tell me what happened. I told him where we were, what happened, what I thought happened 'cause this was three o'clock in the morning in the dark. And he goes, okay, you got your wounded evacuated? I said, yes, sir. He goes do you have your sensitive items accounted for? I says, yeah, we got all their stuff together. And then he said to me, looked me in the face--he didn't do what some people would have done, which would, might have been, okay, well, let's stop. Let's take a statement from everybody. Let's, and I'm not saying we shouldn't pay attention to safety. I'm just the opposite. But this is an important thing. He said to me, he goes, "Okay, Ranger. You still got one hour and fifteen minutes to get to extraction." He was telling me, you know, you don't get to quit just because that happened. Move out. Keep moving, continue the mission, Charlie-Mike. I've never, ever forgotten that. And that profoundly impacted me in the, several major decisions later in my life when I was sitting in his role in life. But so, we did move, get our--move to a desert-lake bed. We did get picked up on aircraft, and we did get out of there and did mourn our dead. And I did get to, later to provide a, you know, go hand--it was a tragic thing. I witnessed this guy die, and then I'm now handing a widow, his widow is nineteen [years old], you know, a flag.

Gen. Vincent Brooks

U.S. Army General Vincent K. Brooks was born in Anchorage, Alaska on October 24, 1958 to Leo Brooks Sr., an army officer who began his career one year after the military received the order to desegregate and ended his career nearly 30 years later having achieved the rank of major general, and Naomi Lewis Brooks, a schoolteacher and Army wife. Brooks graduated from Jesuit High School in California where he excelled in academics and in athletics, leading to his appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point among the first class to include women. At West Point, Brooks played varsity basketball in his freshman year under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Brooks went on to graduate with a B.S. degree in 1980 after achieving the historic honor of being appointed as the top-ranking cadet in the U.S. Corps of Cadets – the Cadet Brigade Commander or “First Captain” for his senior year – an historic first for an African American cadet, coming 177 years into West Point’s history, and also102 years after the first African American – Henry O. Flipper – graduated. His went on to earn his master’s degree (Master of Military Art and Science – MMAS) from the prestigious School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth and later served as a National Security Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Still serving on active duty thirty-three years after graduating from West Point as a commissioned officer, Brooks served in command and staff positions in the United States and around the world. His tours of duty with combat units include the 82nd Airborne Division, the 1st Infantry Division, the 2d Infantry Division, the 3d Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, the III Corps, Third Army/U.S. Army Central, U.S. Army Pacific, and U.S. Central Command. General Brooks has commanded forces in peacekeeping operations and armistice enforcement in Kosovo and Korea, respectively prior to becoming a general; and in combat on four different tours in Iraq, the Middle East and Central Asia, all as a general. Brooks served at the national-level in the Pentagon as aide-de-camp to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and, later, as the U.S. Army’s Chief of Public Affairs. He also served on The Joint Staff as Deputy Director for Political-Military Affairs for the Western Hemisphere, and later as the Deputy Director for the War on Terrorism. On July 2, 2013, he was appointed by President Obama to command the U.S. Army Pacific.

Brooks’ has many military honors and decorations with the highest being the Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters. Brooks was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the New England School of Law in Boston and is part of the only African American family to have three generals within two generations (father, brother, and Vincent Brooks are all Army generals).

Brooks is married to his wife of thirty years, Carol, a physical therapist and educator who also comes from a career Army officer family.

U.S. Army General Vincent K. Brooks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.171

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/21/2013

Last Name

Brooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Keith

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

United States Military Academy

Jesuit College Preparatory High School

U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies

Harvard Kennedy School

Thomas Jefferson High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Vincent

Birth City, State, Country

Anchorage

HM ID

BRO56

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Alaska

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Hawaii

Birth Date

10/24/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Shafter

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

General Gen. Vincent Brooks (1958 - ) graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point where he became the first African American cadet in the school’s history to be named cadet brigade commander. His family is the only African American family in U.S. history with three generals in two generations. Brooks currently commands U.S. Army Pacific.

Employment

United States Army

United States Department of Defense

Favorite Color

Royal Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7734,178:14400,250:15673,273:21435,426:29710,554:44896,798:61066,1103:66690,1218:80600,1406$920,0:15440,266:34635,547:35085,554:35835,563:47734,746:59000,958:70724,1134:77648,1249:83732,1362:97387,1489:98572,1513:104350,1608:136330,1955:143604,2073:143974,2079:157438,2309:174647,2622:176920,2677
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vincent Brooks' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vincent Brooks lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vincent Brooks describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vincent Brooks describes his Quander family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vincent Brooks talks about his Quander family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vincent Brooks talks about his Lewis family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vincent Brooks talks about his maternal grandfather, James Lewis

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vincent Brooks talks about his Lewis family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vincent Brooks talks about his mother's upbringing in Alexandria, Virginia, and his family's athletic talents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vincent Brooks talks about his maternal family's involvement in the seminary

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vincent Brooks talks about his maternal grandparents' home in Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vincent Brook talks about his mother's education, her career as an educator, and her active life in the military community

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vincent Brook describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vincent Brook describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vincent Brook talks about his paternal family's involvement with the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vincent Brook talks about his grandfathers' involvement as leaders in the middle class community in Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vincent Brook talks about his grandfather's bus company, segregation in Alexandria, Virginia, and the integration of the schools

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vincent Brook talks about his father's interest in music and his paternal family's education and careers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vincent Brook talks about his father's interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vincent Brook describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vincent Brook describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Vincent Brook talks about his brother, Leo Brooks, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vincent Brook talks about his sister, Marquita Brooks, and his family's frequent moves while his father was in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vincent Brook describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vincent Brook describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vincent Brook talks about the differences in racial interactions within the military and in civilian society

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vincent Brook talks about attending elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vincent Brook talks about getting bullied in elementary school in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vincent Brook talks about his experience as a child at the Fort Leavenworth military base in Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vincent Brook talks about the similarities and differences between schools on the military base and those in the public sector

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vincent Brook talks about his interest in human anatomy and medicine while he was in middle school and high school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Vincent Brook talks about his relationship with his father, and growing up in a close-knit family with male role models

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Vincent Brook talks about the teachers who inspired him in school

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$1

DAStory

4$10

DATitle
Vincent Brook talks about his paternal family's involvement with the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia
Vincent Brooks talks about his maternal family's involvement in the seminary
Transcript
Slavery is not part of that line [Brooks' paternal family]. Entrepreneurship is, and so whether it was running painting companies or bus companies and--or assisting underground railroad or helping to build Alfred Street Baptist Church, which is the first African American church in downtown Alexandria [Virginia]. It split away from the First Baptist Church of Alexandria. And they just celebrated 200 years together a few years ago. My father's [Leo Brooks, Sr.] a, an emeritus deacon there, by the way, and most of my mother's [Naomi Lewis Brooks] siblings got married in that church over the years. My mother's mother's family, the Quanders, had historic roots there. But so did the Brooks as it turns out, right there in Alexandria, Virginia, huge church now. It's a mega church, but it wasn't all those years. But it was the foundation of the community, the educators of the community all attended that church, way back in the 1800s.$$Okay, this is, once again, this Mount Calvary?$$Yet another church.$$There's another--(unclear) (simultaneous)$$There are several churches that are really important to my family.$$So the one in Alexandria is what?$$Alfred Street--$$Alfred Street.$$--Alfred, A-L-F-R-E-D Street Baptist Church.$$Baptist, okay.$$And it is right at the intersection of Alfred and Duke [streets] in Alexandria. It's unmistakable right now, 'cause it now takes up several blocks.$This, the Lewis family has quite a few stories as well. I mean there're many, many more I could tell you about. You know, really, one of them that I have to at least open the door to, and we can talk about more if you want to, that area of Seminary, there're some interesting confluence of history and how they manifest themselves. This will open the door to several more questions for you. As I mentioned, my grandfather [James] Lewis [Jr.], and his father's [James Lewis] family were up in the Seminary area. Most of the men in that family worked somehow, related to the Episcopal seminary, whether they were running the boiler room, and we had a relative who did that or if they were doing custodial services or what have you, as was the case in Virginia in that era, the famous Jim Crowe era, it was menial work that they were doing. But they were able to earn a living doing that and take care of their families which were very large right then. Just beyond the Seminary is a place called Fort Ward, W-A-R-D. It's now a historic park, but on the outside edge of Fort Ward is a cemetery, just tucked off on the side. And it's the cemetery for Oakland Baptist Church that I mentioned, which is maybe a half a mile away from there. Now, it's all closed out in woods and housing areas, but that used to be a pathway that would go from Oakland Baptist Church over to the Fort Ward Cemetery. And inside of there are many, many, many layers of my family. So that's where several great grand, and great, great grand relatives are located. And in coming back to the Seminary, the strange confluence that I talked about there, my wife's grandfather was also a cleric. He was Episcopal priest, an African American Episcopal [AME] priest in a time of segregation.$$What was his name?$$His, Odell Greenleaf Harris from North Carolina, from Henderson, North Carolina. And ultimately, he was able to break the color line in the Episcopal Seminary at that very same place, Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. And so on one side, my grandfather and great grandfather and relatives were keeping the facility going. Then ultimately, my wife's grandfather was able to break the color line on--he's got books that are documented. He wrote about it, one was called, 'It Can Be Done', and it's in the library there at the Episcopal Seminary. My mother-in-law helped to get that published years ago. This is just the strange way that life guides us.$$Yeah, this is, this is something. It's remarkable (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$I mean my roots in Virginia are so deep and so broad that it's really, it's fascinating, I mean I could talk about it forever.

The Honorable Charles Walker

Attorney Charles Edward Walker, Jr., was born on May 1, 1951, in Anchorage, Alaska, to Marguerite Pearl Lee and Colonel Charles E. Walker, Sr. Walker received his B.A. degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1973 and his J.D. degree from Boston College Law School in 1978.

In 1974, Walker began working as an English teacher for the Oxnard Union High School District in Oxnard, California. After leaving the school district in 1975, Walker studied at the London School of Economics, where he earned his B.S. degree in 1977. After returning to the United States, Walker moved to Massachusetts and worked as an attorney for the Department of Agriculture Office of General Counsel. He then served as a law clerk under the Honorable James Lynch for the Boston Superior Court until 1980.

After leaving the Boston Superior Court, Walker worked as a law clerk at the Massachusetts Court of Appeals for the Honorable Frederick L. Brown, who was the first African American to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Massachusetts. Walker resigned from this position in 1981 and began working as a teaching fellow for Suffolk University Law School’s Council on Legal Education Opportunity, while at the same time serving as an instructor at the University of Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, Walker began working as the Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under then Attorney General Francis X. Bellotti. There, Walker defended state agencies and officials in all the state and federal trial and appellate courts of Massachusetts.

After leaving the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1987, Walker worked briefly as an assistant professor at the New England School of Law, before beginning a six year tenure as the Chairman of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), which ended in 1998. In 2000, Walker served as an administrative judge with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Industrial Accidents, where he completed a four year term ending on September 20, 2004.

Walker has received several awards for his success in the legal arena, including the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s “Top Ten Lawyers of the Year” in 1997 and the 75th Anniversary Distinguished Alumnus Award from Boston College Law School’s Alumni Association.

Accession Number

A2007.251

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/10/2007 |and| 9/12/2007

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Schools

Adolfo Camarillo High School

Moorpark College

University of California-Santa Barbara

Boston College Law School

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Anchorage

HM ID

WAL10

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alaska

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Any Landing That You Can Walk Away From Is A Good One.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

5/1/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

State administrative judge and state assistant attorney general The Honorable Charles Walker (1951 - ) received several awards over his career, including the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly magazine’s “Top Ten Lawyers of the Year” in 1997, and the 75th Anniversary Distinguished Alumnus Award from Boston College Law School’s Alumni Association.

Employment

Massachusetts Attorney General Office

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Administrative Judge

Lawyers'​ Committee for Civil Rights

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Charles Walker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his maternal grandparents' farm in Gahanna, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his paternal family's migration to Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers his paternal aunt, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers his paternal aunt, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his father's interests

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers his father's military career, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers his father's military career, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Charles Walker remember his sister, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Charles Walker remember his sister, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers his high school counselor

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his experiences of discrimination in California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers confronting a racist teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls joining Adolfo Camarillo High School's track team

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his early interest in drawing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers meeting Charles M. Schulz

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers a performance by James Brown

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his aspirations at Moorpark College in Moorpark, California

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers joining the Church of God in Christ

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about his religious upbringing

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his decision to join the Church of God in Christ

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his experience as a standup comedian

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers working as a teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his decision to attend the Boston College Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his studies at the Boston College Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls moving to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about affirmative action policies, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about affirmative action policies, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his aspiration to practice entertainment law

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls working as a law clerk

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers Richard G. Huber

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his first civil rights case, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his first civil rights case, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about the Roxbury Defenders Committee

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his experiences as a law professor

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes the history of liquor licensing in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about the African Meeting House in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about the African Meeting House in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls the lawsuit against Tom English's Cottage in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls the case of Lule Said v. Northeast Security, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls defending a black police officer in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about his reputation as an attorney

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers receiving death threats

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers becoming an administrative judge

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls his experiences as an administrative judge

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker recalls joining Governor Deval L. Patrick's administration

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers dismissing a discrimination case, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker remembers dismissing a discrimination case, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about Macon Bolling Allen

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes the history of civil rights law, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes the history of civil rights law, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Charles Walker reflects upon his career

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Charles Walker reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Charles Walker talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Charles Walker describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$6

DAStory

11$1

DATitle
The Honorable Charles Walker remembers his high school counselor
The Honorable Charles Walker describes the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
Transcript
What was your favorite subject in school? Did you have a favorite?$$In high school [Adolfo Camarillo High School, Camarillo, California]?$$Yeah.$$I liked--one of the most impressionable classes was Mrs. Tiner's [ph.] English class. And up to that point, I really wasn't much of a reader, much, much of a writer. But there was something about Mrs. Tiner that really got me to read and write and understand 'cause I really thought I was, I thought I was stupid really. I thought I was, I thought, I didn't think I was, I had the intellectual power to read and write with any force. In fact, I was in--I wasn't even put in college prep classes. And my high school counselor was Mr. Wozniak, Ed Wozniak [ph.], W-O-Z-N-I-A-K (laughter). I'll never get him, I'll never get over him. And I was just as happy--if I'm going too far off field, let me know. But I was just as happy to come home at 3:30, get some Oreo cookies, drink some milk, watch 'Felix the Cat' and 'Sky King,' and all these guys, and then go to bed--no homework. And then, my mother [Marguerite Lee Walker] complained. And my father [Charles E. Walker] went to Mr. Wozniak, and he brought me in there with him. And Mr. Wozniak had his chart 'cause he knew, and he showed where I scored on the standardized test--how poorly I'd done. And he had this, even my names of my friends. I'll never get over this. My white friends, he says, you know, 'cause he knew who I hung out with, like Timmy [ph.] and Mickey [ph.] and, and John [ph.], Spon [ph.]. "They--this is where they are (laughter). This is where you are, Chuckie [HistoryMaker Charles Walker]." And, you know, like the nerve of you to come in here and act like, you know, you come. You know, and he just humiliated me in front of my father. And my father said, "Chuckie, can you excuse us for a minute (laughter)?" And I used to tell this story, I used to well up when I thought about it. But I would go out, and I went out in the little hall, and sat at the bench. And this is coming in from eighth grade into high school. And he was in there five minutes. I remember we walked out and it was a little unusual. Mr. Wozniak didn't, didn't come out with him. And so, I was walking. He said, "C'mon, champ." That's what my dad used to call me--champ. And we walked down the hall and I was wondering if he killed Mr. Wozniak (laughter). That's all I was thinking about (laughter). And I remember that Monday. He says, "You're going to get in a few different classes." And I remember, I remember (laughter), Mr. Wozniak meeting me at the, at the bus stop, and he took me to all these different classes. You asked me about my teacher--this is how I got to meet Mrs. Tiner. And Mr. Wozniak, you know, I think he did it out of just defiance and just sarcasm. He put me in all these honors classes, expecting me to flunk out and really humiliate me. And I shined. I did really well in English. And that was the class where I found myself. That's a, that's a long way of getting to it. And then I ran for student body president and I, and I was on the Key Club through the Kiwanis Club [Kiwanis International]. And I, you know, I became, you know, I really got to feel my oats. I became an artist actually and I became a cartoonist. And I had a couple of strips in the, in the local newspapers and stuff, and it was '65 [1965] through '69 [1969]. Well, you know, it was--those are incredible years because you had Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] assassinated when we have seventh grade, '63 [1963]. You get King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] assassinated when I was a junior in high school. You have Bobby Kennedy [Robert F. Kennedy], gets assassinated after King. And I was in high school during all those times. And the Watts riots in '65 [1965] out of, out of Los Angeles [California]. You know, it was just an incredibly turbulent race time.$Tell me about the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Now, you were, you served with that organization for six years--first, as commissioner, and later as chairman, right?$$Yeah, I think that's where I really carved a lot of my teeth. People kind of freeze frame me based upon what I did at the, at the MCAD. I have a lot of history before that, but something about I was in the news a lot, depressed a lot, and not looking for it, but it just happened. It's the, it's the premier, and the second oldest--I want to--in some circles, people would say the oldest anti-discrimination state agency in the country. It's charged in overseeing anti-discrimination laws in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. And established in 1945, I believe or '44 [1944], which when you think of it, was pretty significant. That's like twenty years before--I mean, ten years before Brown v. Board of Education [Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954]. And you had a real--it's almost an acerbic tradition of segregation in this country. And you had, even in Massachusetts, you had a lot of discrimination. And so for the mayor, Maurice Tobin [Maurice J. Tobin]--I mean, mayor--the governor, Maurice Tobin, committed some state funds to this federal fair employment practices act [Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII] which had been defunded by [U.S.] Congress. And it was originally established to stop discrimination in the employment arena, at least to address it a little bit, through the Fourteenth Amendment and equal protection clauses. And they codified it for states by making a fair employment practices act--Congress did. They had some money behind it and to give states the incentive to bring this fair employment practices law into fruition. And, like I said around 1944, they defunded it. And Maurice Tobin stepped up the plate and says, oh, no, no, no, this is very important. And he donated--I mean, he allocated money or appropriated money to keep, to maintain its continued existence. And over the years, all the way up through the, up to the '70s [1970s], its, its jurisdictional base was expanded to include public accommodations laws, you know, can't--where you can't be denied a right to sit in a restaurant or something like that, and housing discrimination. It's called a Fair Employment Practices Agency or FEPA, F-E-P-A. And then, they had fair housing, a FHAP agency, F-H-A-P, Fair Housing Act [sic. Fair Housing Assistance Program]--I forget what everything stood for. But, anyway, prohibiting discrimination in housing as well. Anyway, despite that history, I was, I was commissioner and in 1994, and one of the reasons I wanted my interview here was that I selected this venue to be sworn in by the governor, and right upstairs, in 1994. It was such a stressful time.