Howard Alumnus Edward Brooke III, the first African American popularly elected to the U.S. Senate in American history, delivered the 18th annual Patricia Roberts Harris lecture on Monday, February 12, 2007. The Ira Aldridge Theatre was at capacity as students, faculty and staff were on hand to witness a slice of history.
President H. Patrick Swygert welcomed the senator home to Howard University and his old neigborhood. Brooke grew up in Ledroit Park; he attended Dunbar High school and graduated from Howard University in 1941 with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.
"My debt to Howard is enormous," he said. "Howard gave me inspiration that I could get from nowhere else." The senator's speech focused on life growing up in a segregated society, changes to date, and the struggles this great nation must continue to overcome to achieve full equality. Following the lecture, Senator Brooke autographed his recently published autobiography, Bridging the Divide: My Life (Rutgers University Press, 2007).