The late Edward Brooke was the first Black elected U.S. senator and state attorney general. (Courtesy Photo)

The late Edward Brooke, who served as the first popularly-elected Black in the U.S. Senate, will be remembered in the District this month. Brooke, a D.C. native representing Massachusetts in the Senate from 1967-1979, will be honored by his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha in an Omega Service at 4 p.m. March 9 in the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Howard University.

Brooke pledged Alpha at Howard and served as an undergraduate leader of the fraternity while a student. In later years, Brooke served the fraternity as the founding chair of the Alpha Phi Alpha World Policy Council.

After the service, there will be a reception at the Armour J. Blackburn University Center. Ralph Neas, who worked for Brooke from 1973-1979 and was a close friend to the late senator, said  his widow, Anne Brooke, is expected to attend the events.

“Brother Brooke was a national treasurer and Alpha Phi Alpha will recognize his tremendous contributions to our country,” Alpha Phi Alpha General President Mark S. Tillman said. “It is because of brothers like him advocating for our communities that we are the College of Friendship, the University of Brotherly Love, and the School for the Better Making of Men.”

Brooke’s funeral services will be held 11 a.m. March 10 at the Washington National Cathedral. At 3 p.m., Brooke will be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Brooke was the first Black to serve as a state attorney general, elected in 1962 by the voters of Massachusetts. During Brooke’s terms in the Senate, there was speculation in the media and among some Republicans of his being a vice presidential running mate or an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brooke sponsored legislation that supported housing for people of all races and incomes, and fought against White racist governments in Africa. He took on fellow Republican, President Richard Nixon, by refusing to vote for three of his nominees to the Supreme Court and calling for the president to resign when the Watergate scandal became a national concern.

Members of Congress from both parties are expected to attend the funeral service. While Brooke didn’t join the Congressional Black Caucus, he did work with African-American U.S. House of Representative members while in the Senate.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) are the only Black members of Congress who served with Brooke and spoke of him highly.

“He was a Republican and I was glad that he was around,” Conyers said. “Most of the Republicans in the Senate were real conservative but he somehow worked with them and I was glad that he was able to do that.”

Rangel said that he didn’t know Brooke well “but admired him from afar.”

“We didn’t have a close relationship because he was from Massachusetts and I am from New York,” he said. “There is no question that he was an American we could be proud of and he took historic political positions that were generally contrary to his party. Edward Brooke was a real statesman.”

Abdul Henderson, the executive director of the CBC, said the organization does not have any formal plans to celebrate Brooke.

Neas said that Brooke is the highest ranking elected official that the District has ever produced. He said his late mentor has earned the accolades he is getting. “Edward Brooke was the consummate coalition builder as a senator, and he learned to work both sides of the aisles,” Neas said. “He learned to listen and to negotiate and he figured out a way to get things done.”