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Edward Brooke: A Featured Biography


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The first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts served two full terms, from 1967 to 1979. Born in Washington, DC, in 1919, Brooke graduated from Howard University before serving in the United States Army during World War II. After the war, he received a law degree from Boston University, and became the first African American elected as a state's attorney general. During his Senate career he championed the causes of low-income housing and an increased minimum wage, and promoted commuter rail and mass transit systems. Senator Brooke worked tirelessly to promote racial equality in the South. He also integrated the Senate barbershop when he had his first haircut there after becoming a senator. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony on June 23, 2004, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2008.