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Basic Black; Conversation With Ed Brooke


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Basic Black
Conversation With Ed Brooke
Program Number


Series Description

THe series was formerly known as Say Brother. Series title change as of 1/8/1998. This series is black produced and is one of public television's longest-running series that is rooted in and reflects the culture, concerns, achievements and history of people of African descent. Also includes controversial issues, African American artists, and events of special interest to the African American community.

Series release date: 1/8/1998

Program Description

Basic Black host-producer, Darren Duarte has a one on one conversation with Former Massachusetts Senator, Ed Brooke about his life in politics and the personal challenges he faced while in office.

Edward William Brooke III, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 1967–79, was the first African American senator since reconstruction. His political career was full of accomplishments, yet his controversial private life overshadowed his public persona in the end.

A native of Washington, D.C., Brooke graduated from Howard University. After serving in Africa and Italy as a Captain in the Army during World War II, Brooke came to Massachusetts to attend Boston University Law School. He established a law practice in Roxbury. There, he married Remigia Ferrari-Scacco, an Italian woman he met while he was stationed in Italy during the war.

Brooke ran for several state offices in Massachusetts during the 1950s and early ’60s, as both a Republican and a Democrat. In 1962, he was elected state attorney general, making history as the first African American to be elected to a high position in any state office. Yet he refused to define himself or his political career in terms of race: "I am not running as a Negro," he once said. "I’m trying to show that people can be elected on the basis of their qualifications and not their race."

In 1966, Brooke was elected to the U.S. Senate. Basic Black talks to him about his activities and accomplishments during his two terms in the Senate: his fact-finding mission to Vietnam; his recommendations to protect black and civil rights workers during riots in 1967; his advocacy for affirmative action, minority business development, increased Medicare funding, and ending trade with South Africa.

Brooke’s reelection bid in 1978 was marred by personal scandal that cost him his Senate seat. In the midst of an acrimonious divorce, Brooke was accused of misrepresenting his assets to shelter money in a divorce settlement and of other questionable financial dealings. These charges ruined Brooke’s political career. He lost his Senate seat to Paul Tsongas. He returned to practice law, first in Boston and then in Washington, where he currently lives.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
Chicago: “Basic Black; Conversation With Ed Brooke,” 02/03/2000, GBH Archives, accessed July 23, 2024,
MLA: “Basic Black; Conversation With Ed Brooke.” 02/03/2000. GBH Archives. Web. July 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Basic Black; Conversation With Ed Brooke. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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