As a young man, Edward W. Brooke wanted to be a doctor. Today, he is the first Negro to win state-wide office in Massachusetts and is the attorney general-elect, writes Ronald A. Wysocki of the Boston Globe.
It was while he was in Italy as an infantry captain in World War II that he decided to practice law. Disturbed by the indifference in which officers were chosen as defense counsel in courts-martial - many without any inkling or military law - he began a study of the subject.
Before long, he was the most sought-after officer to represent defendants at military courts-martial. Now, with the same intentness and tenacity, he faces the biggest job of his career.
The lean, trimly tailored lawyer is anxious to keep a campaign promise. He’s ready to move against corruption.

Ready to Move Against Corruption

“But I want to try on the job for size for a while before I make any drastic decisions,” he said shortly after election.
“One think I certainly want to do is live up to my campaign promises - and I intend to. I want a staff of the best men...I’ll choose them on a non-partisan basis.”
The fight against corruption is nothing new to the 43-year-old attorney. For the past two years, he headed and revitalized the Boston Finance Commission. Several city agencies came under his scrutiny and incisive questioning. Included were the fire department, city auctioneer’s office and the police department.
There was the probe into Fire Alarm Supt. Albert L. O’Banion’s alleged conflict of interest that led to O’Banion’s removal. Last September, Municipal Court Judge Charles F. Mahoney ordered O’Banion reinstated on the grounds that his rights were breached by the finance committee and the commissioner’s hearing.
Mr. Brooke and his commission investigated straw land deals in Hyde Park, the property being bought from the city by Boston city auctioneer John J. McGrath. McGrath was ousted but appealed to the Civil Service Commission for reinstatement.

He Brought Quinn Tamm

It was Mr. Brooke who set the wheels in motion which brought Quinn Tamm and his International Association of Police Chiefs to Boston to re-valuate the police department.
Mr. Brooke was an honor student at Howard University in the class of 1940, taking a pre-med course. He wanted to become a general practitioner. But fate had other plans.
With the outbreak of World War II, he was called into the Army as a second lieutenant after ROTC duty at Howard.
He discovered and fell in love with Boston when sent to Fort Devens with the 366th Infantry. It was then that he decided to continue his studies here after the war.
Whether his career was medicine or law, the same analytical mind and dedication to detail was bound to come into play. This was evident from the time of his youth.
Mr. Brook credits his father, Edward W. Brooke Sr., a Veterans Administration lawyer in his native Washington, with setting a guide for his life with the advice:
“Find out what is behind this, or at the bottom of that! Search for the key. Then build your detail around it.”
It was while Brooke was working with the Italian partisans against the Germans that he met his Genovese wife, Remigia. She still calls him Carlo - his code name with the Italian underground fighters. They have two children and live in Roxbury.

Cast His Lot With Boston

With the war’s end, he cast his lot and fortune with Boston, returning here and taking up the study of law at Boston University. He received his law degree in 1948 and a master’s degree from there two years later.
In 1950, he took his first shot at politics, running as both a Democrat and Republican in a primary fight for a house seat from the Twelfth Suffolk District in Roxbury. Mr. Brooke lost the Democratic race, but won Republican nomination. In the election, he lost by just 300 votes.
He’s been a Republican ever since. He made a second losing tray for the House in 1952, didn’t run for public office again until 1960 when he tried for secretary of state. Although he lost to Kevin H. White, he polled 1,095,000 votes, being topped on the Republican slate in votes only by Senator Saltonstall and Governor Volpe.
This year, he won a strongly fought G.O.P. convention endorsement for attorney general, plus a primary fight before becoming the new Republican attorney general.