United States senator elected by popular vote, dies at the age of 95 the Republican Party said. Brooke was a Massachusetts Republican who was the first African-American man to be popularly elected to the United States senate.
In 1966, when he was first elected to the senate, Brooke was Massachusetts attorney general. This was during a time when the country was still rife with racist notions.
While there were two other African-American senators before Brooke’s election and after the Civil War, these senators were not picked by popular vote.
Until the early 20th century, senators were picked by state legislature and not by democratic means.
Once in the senate, Brooke joined a small band of liberal Republicans who often opposed the Republican president, Richard Nixon.
One such issue that Brooke opposed was the build-up of troops in Vietnam. Later on, when the Watergate scandal came to light, Brooke was also one of the first Republican senators to call for Nixon to resign.
In 1972, he was re-elected by an almost 2-1 margin. However, by the time his third term came around in 1978, he was involved in a very public divorce proceeding.