Bridging the Divide: My Life

By Edward W. Brooke | Go to book overview

1
Inside the
Cocoon

For young people growing up in America today, stories of my youth will seem almost incomprehensible. It will require the suspension of their sense of reality to picture a time when large areas of Washington, D.C., were truly safe, when families stayed together, neighbors helped one another, students were encouraged to study, and there were no drugs or drive-by shootings. But I grew up in such a time, and these are my recollections. I grew up black in the segregated South, yet I never knew the poverty or overt racial discrimination that might suggest. My hometown was Washington, D.C., where my father was a government lawyer. I attended good schools and lived in a neighborhood that was attractive and crimefree. My life was dramatically different from that of a young black man in the Deep South. The segregation in Washington was no less real, but it was more subtle and, in my experience, not violent. I was raised in a cocoon, surrounded by other middle-class Negro Americans, rarely dealing with whites, accepting the written and unwritten laws that declared much of my hometown off-limits to me. I knew that some of my ancestors had come to America in chains, and I knew that lynching and race riots still occurred, but the blunt realities of racism did not really penetrate my life until I went off to serve in World War II.

My parents, Edward William Brooke Jr. and Helen Seldon Brooke, were very different people. I loved them both deeply, but I was more like my outgoing mother than my reserved, brooding father. They

-4-

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Bridging the Divide: My Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Inside the Cocoon 4
  • 2 - Captain Carlo 20
  • 3 - Romance in Italy 32
  • 4 - Law and Politics 43
  • 5 - "Where the Huckleberries Grow" 54
  • 6 - The Boston Finance Commission 71
  • 7 - One Vote in Worcester 80
  • 8 - Attorney General 96
  • 9 - The Strange Case of the Boston Strangler 115
  • 10 - Running for the Senate 129
  • 11 - Back to Washington 145
  • 12 - Vietnam 154
  • 13 - Member of the Club 169
  • 14 - The President Nixon I Knew 187
  • 15 - "The Freest Man in the Senate" 212
  • 16 - A Private Matter 235
  • 17 - Stormy Weather 243
  • 18 - Love and Redemption 259
  • 19 - Private Citizen 274
  • 20 - Looking beyond 289
  • Index 309
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