Our lecture this week is presented by the Boston University African American Studies Program, and titled “Forerunner: Edward Brooke, Black Power, and White Votes.” Our speaker is historian, Dr. Jason Sokol.
Thank you for a very compelling telling of the story of Ed Brooke's campaigns and career as a Senator from our state. Until tonight I had not known of a two-term state-wide black politician in this country before Deval Patrick; but Brooke did it twice: both as Attorney General and also as U.S. Senator.
I would disagree with one point: I feel that Obama did something very different in the Philadelphia from his forerunners. Whereas the other successful black politicians you mentioned (Wilder, Dinkins, etc.) distanced themselves from those whom whites feared (Carmichael, Jackson, Sharpton, etc.), Obama explicitly said, "I can [not] distance myself from Jeremiah Wright." This candid, honest breath of fresh air won the support of Bill Richardson among others, and likely tipped the primary in his favor.