Former GOP Sen. Edward Brooke Dies At 95 Former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke died on Saturday. He was 95. When he took office in 1966, Brooke became the first popularly elected African American in the Senate.

Former GOP Sen. Edward Brooke Dies At 95

Former GOP Sen. Edward Brooke Dies At 95

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Former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke died on Saturday. He was 95. When he took office in 1966, Brooke became the first popularly elected African American in the Senate.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's take a moment now to remember a senator who made history. Edward Brooke has died at age 95. In all the years of this republic, Edward Brooke was the first African-American elected to the Senate by popular vote. He did that in 1966. The very few African-Americans who were chosen in earlier generations had been chosen by state legislatures.

Brooke was born in Washington, D.C. During World War II, he earned a Bronze Star while serving as an officer in a black regiment of the segregated U.S. Army. After the war, Brooke settled in Boston. He became a lawyer. He was elected to the Senate as a Republican. He served two terms, and he cosponsored the Fair Housing Act of 1968 with a Democrat, Walter Mondale of Minnesota. That law banned discrimination based on race, religion or ethnicity.

Now, Senator Brooke did not consider himself a civil rights leader, but in 2009 he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest honor, in part for his example to later generations of African-American elected officials.

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