Edward W. Brooke, III (Finding Aid)

Edward W. Brooke, III

1919 -

Favorite Color: Blue

Favorite Food: Lamb

Favorite Time of Year: Spring

Favorite Vacation Spot: St. Martens, French West Indies

Interview Length: 252 minutes

Interview Date(s): September 23, 2003

Interview Location(s): Washington D.C.


Former US Senator, Edward Brooke details his childhood in Washington D.C. He remembers the pervasive segregation in all aspects of life. Brooke discusses his family background, rooted in Virginia slave plantations. He also details black life in Washington as a child of some privelege, His father was an attorney who beleived in the power of education.

Former US Senator, Edward Brooke, describes his secondary school acehivements and life as a 'city student' at Howard University. He details hos important his involvment with Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity was to his social and future political development. He recalls meeting noteable figures like A. Phillip Randolph, Haile Selaisse, Alain Locke among others. He also recalls professors who were to become stellar figures like, Charles Hamilton Houston and Ralph Bunche.

Former US Senator, Edward Brooke, details his life as a second lieutenant in the Army during WWII. He recalls the opressive weight of segregation and racism from fellow white soldiers and commanders while allegedly fighting for democracy abroad. Denied access to the same facilities as white soldiers and limited to guard duty, Brooke and the other exceptional men of the 366th were demoralized.

Former US Senator, Edward Brooke, details his tour in the South Pacific during WWII. He recalls the indignities suffered by the men of the 366th Combat battalion. A segregated unit led by Howard University men, Brooke describes how the unit was misued for digging ditches when they were eager to see combat. He also discusses his marriage to a young Italian woman and how she was received when she moved to the States to be with Brooke.

Former US Senator, Edward Brooke discusses his entry into local then statewide politics. In a nonpartisan election for state representative, Brooke ran on the Democratic and Republican ticket, but lost on the Democratic ticket. Urged by Massachusetts poitical big wigs, Brooke made another stab for office, and lost again. Governor Herter urged him to run for Massachusetts secretary of state. Brooke also recounts some difficulties faced in the politcal arena due to his interracial marriage.

Former US Senator Edward Brooke discusses his first run for Secretary of state for Massachusetts. He also details his run for Massachusetts Attorney General and the political odds against him succeeding. Brooke recalls one of his most famous cases, the Boston Strangler case, which he sucessfully prosecuted and some of the publicity generated by the case and subsequent feature film.

Former US Senator, Edward Brooke, recalls his years in Massachusetts state politics, his win for Attorney General and the fortuitous set of circumstances which led his to run for US Senator, making him the first black man to win since Reconstruction. Brooke describes the political wrangling in the Massachusetts Republican party when the Senate seat suddenly opened up.

Former US Senator, Edward Brooke, details his political losses and successes in Massachusetts as attorney general and later US Senator. He recalls the friction encountered as he bucked the established Massachusetts and Boston Brahmin power structure to run for office. Brooke also discusses his political friendship between himself and the Kennedy family.

Former US Senator Edward Brooke details his life as a two term senator. He held office during the unravelling of the Nixon presidency and Watergate. In fact, Brooke was the first Republican to call for him to step down. Brooke was also a voiciferous opponent of Nixon's Southern Strategy and attempts to place two segregationsists on the US Supreme Court.

Former US Senator Edward Brooke shares his thoughts on the future of black America, global issues, the Iraq War and his legacy.

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