This Day in Black History: Nov. 8, 1966

Edward W. Brooke is the first African-American to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Posted: 11/08/2012 08:00 AM EST

Edward William Brooke III is a Howard University graduate who made history when he was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1966, the first African-American to be elected into the Senate by popular vote. He was also the first Black politician from Massachusetts to serve in Congress.


Brooke was born in Washington, D.C., and majored in sociology at Howard before joining the U.S. Army as second lieutenant. He later enrolled in law school at Boston University.


Brooke was appointed chairman of the Boston Finance Commission to uncover corruption in the city's system. During his time as the state's first African-American attorney general, he continued to fight against government corruption and housing discrimination.


On Nov. 8, 1966, Brooke earned a seat in Congress, winning 62 percent of the vote. He became the first African-American elected to the Senate since the Reconstruction Era. Though he was a moderate Republican, Brooke butted heads with his party. He opposed former President Nixon's conservative nominees to the Supreme Court and was one of the first politicians to call for the president's resignation. He served from 1967 to 1969.


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(Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

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