^^^^^ this is a pic with Obama - Educator will throw a fit that this man is considered "AA"
Edward W. Brooke III, who in 1966 became the first African-American elected to the United States Senate by popular vote, winning as a Republican in overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts, died on Saturday at his home in Coral Gables, Fla. He was 95. Ralph Neas, a family spokesman, confirmed the death.
Mr. Brooke won his Senate seat by nearly a half-million votes in 1966 and was re-elected in 1972. He remains the only black senator ever to have been returned to office.
A skilled coalition builder at a time when Congress was less ideologically divided than it is today, Mr. Brooke shunned labels, but he was seen as a centrist. His positions and votes were consistently more liberal than those of his increasingly conservative Republican colleagues.
He opposed the expansion of nuclear arsenals, pushed for improved relations with China and championed civil rights, the legalization of abortion and fair housing policies. He urged Republicans to match the Democrats in coming up with programs to aid cities and the poor.
Edward W. Brooke III. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images
“Where are our plans for a New Deal or a Great Society?” he asked in a 1966 book, “The Challenge of Change: Crisis in Our Two-Party System.”
He was a thorn in the side of his party’s leader, President Richard M. Nixon. He successfully led the fight against two Nixon Supreme Court nominees whose positions on civil rights were called into question. When Nixon became entangled in the Watergate scandal, Mr. Brooke called for the appointment of a special prosecutor. He was the first Republican senator to demand Nixon’s resignation.
“His presence in the Senate in those years was absolutely indispensable,” said Mr. Neas, who was chief legislative assistant to Mr. Brooke and later president of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way. “There were repeated battles during those years. Even some Democrats were retreating on the Senate floor on issues like school desegregation and abortion rights, and Senator Brooke was the one who often single-handedly took on the radical right.”
Still, he disappointed liberals by opposing a program to recruit teachers to work in disadvantaged areas. He sought to deny federal aid to New York City during its financial crisis and resisted changing Senate rules to make filibusters against civil rights legislation easier to stop.
On the issue of the Vietnam War, Mr. Brooke, a decorated combat veteran, was torn, moving from dove to hawk, then back to dove. He was a forceful speaker, often described as gentlemanly and charming, and meticulous about his appearance, sometimes changing clothes three times a day.
His political career began collapsing in 1978. What Mr. Brooke thought would be an amicable divorce from his first wife, the former Remigia Ferrari-Scacco, turned bitter and was played out in the news media, resulting in an admission by Mr. Brooke that he had made a false statement under oath in a deposition.
He lost his bid for a third term to Representative Paul E. Tsongas, a Democrat, who received 55 percent of the vote. Mr. Brooke described the experience as “the lowest point in my life.”
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Cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee four months later, he was nevertheless devastated. “Why did it happen?” he said in an interview with The Boston Globe in 2000. “I don’t know. I’ve asked my God that many times. ‘Why, why, why, dear God?’ ”
Mr. Brooke was twice elected attorney general of Massachusetts, the first African-American to be elected attorney general of any state. When President John F. Kennedy heard the news in 1962, on the same day that his brother Edward was elected to the United States Senate, he said, “That’s the biggest news in the country.”
In 1964, as President Lyndon B. Johnson led a Democratic landslide, Mr. Brooke was re-elected attorney general by more votes than any other Republican in the nation. In 1968, he was at the top of many lists of possible Republican vice-presidential candidates. By his own and others’ accounts, he turned down cabinet posts and a seat on the Supreme Court.
The only previous black senators, Blanche K. Bruce and Hiram R. Revels, both Republicans, were elected not by voters but by the Mississippi Legislature in the 1870s.
Mr. Brooke never presented himself as a black politician and grew tired of being called “first this, first that,” he said. He represented all the people of Massachusetts, he said, and wanted no part of being “a national leader for the Negro people.”
In a statement Saturday, Kirsten Hughes, the spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Republican Party, said, “The Massachusetts Republican Party is proud to have had Senator Brooke as one of our party’s leaders, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”
Edward William Brooke III was born on Oct. 26, 1919, in Washington. He was the third child and only son of the former Helen Seldon and Edward W. Brooke II, a lawyer for the Veterans Administration and a Republican, as most blacks were then.
He grew up in “a cocoon,” he wrote in his autobiography, “Bridging the Divide: My Life” (2007). He had a stable home, firm religious guidance — he was an Episcopal altar boy — and a good education, attending Dunbar High School, a prestigious black school in Washington.
Surrounded by middle-class blacks, he wrote, he rarely encountered direct racial discrimination, although when the Washington opera was closed to blacks his mother took him to the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Mr. Brooke earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Howard University in 1941. A reservist during college, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant after Pearl Harbor in 1941 and joined the all-black 366th Combat Infantry Regiment.