Black History Month: Edward Brooke
February 3, 2012
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Edward William Brooke, III (born October 26, 1919) was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican from Massachusetts in 1966. He served for two terms, and was defeated by Paul Tsongas in the 1978 senate election. He was the first African-American popularly elected to the Senate. Brooke would remain the only person of African heritage sent to the Senate in the 20th century until Democrat Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois in 1993, and was the last Republican Senator elected from Massachusetts until the 2010 election of Scott Brown. He is also the only African-American reelected to the Senate. Brooke is the oldest living Republican Senator and the second oldest overall.
Brooke was born in Washington, DC, in 1919 and attended Dunbar High School. Upon his graduation from Howard University in 1941, he spent five years as an officer in the Army and saw combat in Italy during World War II as a member of the segregated 366th Infantry Regiment, earning a Bronze Star. Following his discharge, Brooke graduated from the Boston University School of Law in 1948. He was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts in 1962 and re-elected in 1964, becoming the first elected African-American Attorney General of any state in American history.