Former Georgia Representative Tyrone L. Brooks is known around the world as the man who brought down the old racist, divisive symbol, the Georgia Confederate flag.
Brooks was born on October 10, 1945, in Warrenton, Georgia, where he was reared and educated in the public school system. He received further education at Boggs Academy, Keysville, Georgia; LaSalle Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Howard University, Washington D.C.; Atlanta University; and The Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In May of 2001, the John Marshall School of Law bestowed on him his first honorary degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence.
His professional career began in public service as an activist for civil and human rights at the age of 15 as a volunteer with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He became a full-time staffer of the organization in 1967 under Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Under Dr. King, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Rev. Hosea Williams and Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, he served in many positions, nationally and locally.
Brooks was at the forefront and involved in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality since 1960; he has been jailed 66 times for civil rights work. His accolades include receiving numerous awards and honors for outstanding leadership and service from many civic, religious, government, media, educational and civil rights organizations including the NAACP, SCLC, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N, Inc., and several others.
In 2015, Brooks pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud in Federal U.S. District Court Thursday. He resigned the seat he’s held in the state legislature for more than three decades. In addition to entering a guilty plea to tax fraud, the Atlanta Democrat pleaded no contest to five charges of wire and mail fraud. Brooks was sentenced to one year in federal prison.