was raised a Republican in very Democratic Massachusetts in the '60s. In those
days, Democrats were the people fighting integration in the South and school
busing in Boston. I was a proud Edward Brooke supporter when he first ran for
Senate in 1966, even though I was only 9, and was quite thrilled when he won.
When he lost in 1978, I was very sad (though I'd moved away by then, so I
couldn't vote for him).
Edward W. Brooke was the first black senator elected from a northern state. A
few had been elected during Reconstruction in the south, but it wasn't exactly
a popular vote in those days. Brooke was sharp and seemed very fair at a time
when racial rhetoric was especially explosive. He was the anti–Louise Day
Hicks, a particularly volatile Boston racist and school committee member during
the '60s and '70s. If you think Obama seems overly calm at times, he might have
been following in the footsteps of Senator Brooke.
After his forced retirement, Brooke lawyered in the D.C. area.
He married twice, the first time to an Italian woman he met while a soldier in
WWII, and with whom he had two daughters. Later, he married again and had a
son. Probably the most interesting bit of gossip about him was that he had an
affair with Barbara Walters in the '70s, who did "kiss and tell." But
he did not look for publicity in his retirement and made no comment.
--Dead People Server Curator
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