Two-Term Senator Edward W. Brooke Dies at 95

Boston, Jan. 3, 2015, — Edward William Brooke III (October 26, 1919 – January 3, 2015) became the first African-American popularly elected to the United States Senate in 1966. No other senator of African heritage was elected until Democrat Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois in 1993. As of 2014 Brooke was the only African-American Senator to serve multiple terms. He was elected to the Senate as a Republican from Massachusetts, defeating former Massachusetts governor Democrat Endicott Peabody in a landslide. He served for two terms, and was defeated by Paul Tsongas in the 1978 senate election.

Statement by the President on the Passing of Edward Brooke

Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former Senator Edward Brooke. Senator Brooke led an extraordinary life of public service, including his time in the U.S. Army. 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. During his time in elected office, he sought to build consensus and understanding across partisan lines, always working towards practical solutions to our nation’s challenges. We express our deepest sympathies to his wife Anne, children Remi, Edwina, Edward, stepdaughter Melanie, family, friends and the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Statement by the Mayor Martin J. Walsh on the Passing of U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke

“Today the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts mourn together a great American in U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke.

“He dedicated his life to this nation, and we all share a deep pride in his distinguished, historic career in public service as a soldier, Attorney General, and one of the most highly respected, path-breaking members of the Senate.

“Many of his beginnings were in Boston. Graduating from Boston University Law School, serving on the Boston Finance Commission, and starting his legal practice in the neighborhood of Roxbury—he was one of our own. His progressive ideals aligned with what Boston and Massachusetts hope for in a leader: empowering those who did not have a voice.

“A fighter for equal opportunity and a bridge builder between opposing parties, Senator Brooke embraced optimism and change, constantly seeking ways to lift people up and bring people together.

“We will forever be grateful for his venerable leadership. Our prayers are with the his family and friends, and all who loved him.”