1919 – 2015
Edward Brooke was the first Black person elected to serve as a state's attorney general. But he is most commonly known as the first black person popularly elected to the United States Senate. Brooke was a member of the Republican Party who served two terms in the Senate representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1966 – 1978.
The epitome of class, after Brooke lost his senate seat in 1978, he delivered the following remarks to Massachusetts voters:
"To all of you who voted for me in the election, I want to assure you that I am truly grateful for the opportunities you have given me for service to mankind. For those of you who have voted against me, I have no bitterness in my heart. I leave this job only with a feeling that there is so much more to be done, and a strong belief that I could do it."
Brooke was class personified and admired on both sides of the political isle. Brooke was so admired in the Senate that he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009. According to the History, Art, and Archives, "Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event."
During his acceptance speech of the gold medal, Brooke offered a brief look into his psyche as a senator:
"I'm here to say that politics is not an evil thing. It's a good thing, and when used properly it does good things."