Industry Mourns Fair Housing Champion

NBC News  |   January 5, 2015

Former Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, co-author of the Fair Housing Act and the first black man in history to win popular election to the U.S. Senate, passed away Saturday. He was 95.

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Brooke was elected to the Senate in 1966 and became an early advocate for equality in housing.

“In a turbulent time, he spoke for those who couldn’t speak for themselves – the poorest Americans who faced discrimination in its many forms,” Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said in a statement about Brooke. “As a co-author of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Senator Brooke was instrumental in establishing HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity as that law’s enforcement mechanism. To this day, ensuring that every American is protected from discrimination when it comes to choosing a place to live remains a core mission for the Department – and one we’re proud to uphold.”

Brooke, raised in a middle-class, predominantly African American section of Washington, had attended segregated schools through his graduation from Howard University in 1941.

Brooke received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian recognition awarded by Congress, in 2009.

"Senator Brooke led an extraordinary life of public service," President Obama said in a statement Saturday. "As the first African-American elected as a state's Attorney General and first African-American U.S. Senator elected after reconstruction, Ed Brooke stood at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness."

Brooke is survived by his second wife, Anne Fleming Brooke; their son Edward Brooke IV; his daughters from his first marriage, Remi Goldstone and Edwina Petit; stepdaughter Melanie Laflamme, and four grandchildren.

Source: NBC News