Sen. Edward Brooke Receives Congressional Gold Medal
October 29, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Former Sen. Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts received the Congressional Gold Medal yesterday for his lifelong and historic service to the nation.
Brooke, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and served in the U.S. military, was the nation's first African-American senator elected by popular vote and the last Republican African-American senator. He was elected in 1966 and served for two terms until 1979.
Brooke was a champion of civil rights, fighting for strong enforcement in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which he co-authored with former Sen. Walter Mondale of Minnesota, and voting rights for the District of Columbia. For his commitment to civil rights, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights honored Brooke in 1978 with the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award, the civil rights community's highest honor.
The Congressional Gold Medal is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. It was first awarded in 1776 to then-General George Washington and John Paul Jones. It has since been awarded to a wide array of notable figures, including Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, and Jackie Robinson.
Categories: Civil Rights History