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PHOTO ESSAY

Blacks in Politics, Part 1

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Edward W. Brooke III, c. 1968

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

A Republican in a Democratic state and an African American in an overwhelmingly white state, Edward Brooke managed to win the 1966 senatorial seat for Massachusetts. This election made him the first black Senator since the Reconstruction era. Brooke became an important voice in the Republican Party and while he worked against the notion that he was a senator only for African Americans and minority causes, he worked to encourage the inclusion of civil rights and the incorporation of more moderate racial views into the Republican Party. In 1968 there was wide speculation that Brooke would be named the vice presidential candidate, but the position went instead to Spiro Agnew. Brooke served as the senator of Massachusetts until 1978.

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