obama & brooke

(Via MSN News) – Edward Brooke, the Massachusetts Republican who was the first African American to be popularly elected to the U.S. Senate, died on Saturday at the age of 95, the state Republican Party said.

Brooke was Massachusetts attorney general when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1966, at a time when the country was gripped by racial unrest.

Before his election, there were two other African-American senators shortly after the Civil War. But until early in the 20th century, senators were picked by state legislatures and not by popular vote.

In the Senate, Brooke joined a small band of liberal Republicans who often went against the wishes of the Republican president, Richard Nixon.

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