​November 8, 1966: Edward Brooke Makes History

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The former Massachusetts Attorney General, Edward Brooke, became the 1st African American elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction.

In September 2002, he was diagnosed with breast cancer and assumed a national role in raising awareness of the disease among men.

On January 3, 2015, Brooke died at his home in Coral Gables, Florida, at the age of 95.

Edward William Brooke III was a politician and was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican from Massachusetts in 1966, defeating his Democratic opponent, former Massachusetts governor, Endicott Peabody in a landslide. He served for two terms, and was defeated by Paul Tsongas in the 1978 senate election.

Brooke was the 1st African American popularly elected to the Senate and 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 the only African-American Senator to serve multiple terms. 

Brooke was the last Republican Senator elected from Massachusetts until Scott Brown was elected in 2010, and is the most recent Republican of African-American heritage to be elected to the Senate in his own right and the only one to win re-election. (Tim Scott, appointed to serve in the 113th Congress, was appointed to continue a term to which Jim DeMint was elected.) 

In 2008, Barbara Walters wrote in her memoir Audition that she and Brooke had an affair lasting several years during the 1970s, while Brooke was married to his first wife. Walters said that they ended the relationship to protect their careers from possible scandal. Brooke never commented on the claim.

Read more about Brooke’s life and legacy at: Daily Black History Facts


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