Edgar Brookins was the longtime AFRO D.C. General and Circulation Manager, who died Dec. 1. (AFRO Archives)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor
mgreen@afro.com

When Edgar Allen Brookins died on Dec. 1, 2021, people all around the D.M.V. and United States mourned the passing of a man who gave two decades to the Army and three decades to the AFRO, all the while fighting for justice of Black Americans, soldiers and history makers.  It is rightfully so, that Brookins, longtime Washington AFRO General and Circulation Manager is one of the D.C. Newsmakers of the Year.

“ carried God’s precious PRESENCE sowed it in the lives of others,” Jacqueline Marie Pressey commented on Facebook while watching the memorial service for Brookins on Dec. 18.

Although he was given the nickname Mr. D.C., Brookins was born in Benton, Mississippi on November 23, 1947.  

Brookins was not only a dedicated Army Officer with 20 plus years in the military, he also prioritized education.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Jackson State University.  He also completed the Armed Forces Staff College and the Command General Staff College, which is the equivalent of a Master’s degree in civilian life.

“LTC(R) Brookins was my commander in Denver, Colorado in 1987-1988.  He was an awesome leader and a greater person.  May God comfort his family during this difficult time.  RIP sir!! HOOAH,” wrote James Reed on the AFRO’s Facebook.

Brookins was a newsmaker and gatherer throughout his life.  He was always where the news was and ensured that the stories were told.  Volunteering and chairing several organizations, including his own non-profit, the Ciera Brookins Lupus Educational Foundation, Brookins was in the know and a dot connector for many Black Washingtonians looking for help in events, their businesses, getting speakers, beauty pageants, press and more.

“This Alpha Kappa Alpha woman truly appreciated all that Edgar Brookins did to share the news about AKA activities,” wrote public relations expert Doxie McCoy.

From Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, to the Association of the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Black Public Relations Society, National Association of Black Journalists and Veterans of Foreign Wars to church and his children, Brookins put 100 percent into everything he did.

“He gave his all to the organizations of which he was a member,” said Conrando Morgan, Colonel, U.S. Army (retired) and Brookins’ Omega Psi Phi fraternity brother.

With all his beloved extracurricular activities, Brookins prioritized his love of God. Brookins was a member of the Ft. Myer Gospel Service and was the Communications Ministry leader, served on the Usher Board and Men’s Ministry and was an Adult Sunday School teacher.  He also led the annual Black History Program at the Army Fort Myer Virginia Gospel Service.  After his years of dedication to Ft. Myer Gospel Service, Brookins’ memorial was held at the chapel to which he loved and was dedicated.

In addition, Brookins found himself leading collegiate classrooms and accepted an adjunct professor position at Lincoln University teaching a Senior Practicum Course in Print Journalism from 2014 to 2016.  

Brookins died from complications of prostate cancer- a five year battle he fought valiantly. He became an outspoken voice advocating for “brothers” to “get their annual screening from age 45 forward,” according to a biography Brookins wrote more than five years ago.  

After the loss of his beloved daughter, Ciera, Brookins began a crusade for lupus awareness, donning wristbands, throwing events and turning his birthday celebrations into a fundraiser for lupus research and treatment.  He founded the Ciera Brookins Lupus Educational Foundation in honor of his late daughter and to raise awareness about the disease.

Brookins was dedicated to the AFRO until the very end. For more than three decades, Brookins served the AFRO, working under several editors not only as a General and Circulation Manager, but also doing some writing and reporting himself, and helping plan large events. 

Even after his retirement celebration in November of 2018, Brookins continued showing up daily and during the COVID-19 pandemic he tuned in, contributed, regularly volunteered to pray and was an active participant in the daily staff meetings.  He also continued assisting and coordinating editorial coverage in the District.

“Even when his voice was barely above a whisper, he found the strength to call me, not once, but twice, from his hospital bed to make sure his papers were taken care of,” AFRO Publisher Frances Toni Draper said in her remarks at Brookins’ memorial service.

We Salute you, Mr. Brookins, good and faithful soldier and servant.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor