Edward Brooke, first black popularly elected to U.S. Senate, dies: Republican party spokeswoman

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 03, 2015 4:22 PM

(Reuters) - Edward Brooke, the Massachusetts Republican who was the first African-American to be popularly elected to the U.S. Senate, died on Saturday, according to Massachusetts Republican Party spokeswoman Kirsten Hughes.

Brooke, 95, was elected to Congress in 1966 by voters in Massachusetts at a time when the nation was gripped in racial unrest.

He was serving as the Massachusetts attorney general when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

There had been two black senators shortly after the Civil War but until early in the 20th Century, senators were picked by state legislatures and not by popular vote.

(Reporting By Carey Gillam and Frank McGurty Editing by W Smon)