NBC News is reporting that Edward Brooke, the first African-American in U.S. history to win popular election to the Senate, died Saturday.
The Republican senator, who represented Massachusetts for two terms from 1967 to 1979, died of natural causes at his Coral Gables, Florida, home, surrounded by his family, said Ralph Neas, Brooke’s former chief counsel.
The author writes:
“Brooke was elected to the Senate in 1966, becoming the first black to sit in that branch from any state since Reconstruction and one of nine blacks who have ever served there — including Barack Obama.
After Obama’s presidential election in 2008, Brooke told The Associated Press he was “thankful to God” that he lived to see it. And with the president on hand in October 2009, Brooke received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress has to honor civilians.
‘Senator Brooke led an extraordinary life of public service,’ Obama said in a statement Saturday. “As the first African-American elected as a state’s Attorney General and first African-American U.S. Senator elected after reconstruction, Ed Brooke stood at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness.”
Secretary of State John Kerry lauded his ‘remarkable political courage’ in being the first Senator to call for President Richard Nixon’s resignation on Nov. 4, 1973. Nixon stepped down nine months later.
Brooke helped lead the forces in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment and was a defender of school busing to achieve racial integration, a bitterly divisive issue in Boston. He also lent his name to the Brooke amendment to the federal housing act, passed in 1969, which limited to 25 percent the amount of income a family must pay for rent in public housing.”
Mr. Brooke was 95.
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For more about Mr. Brooke, check out Akosua Lowery’s profile of the legendary senator on The Burton Wire. The post originally ran on November 8, 2013.
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