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John Mitchell Brooks' Gravestone
*John Mitchell Brooks was born on this date in 1917. He was a Black businessman and activist.
From Bradock, Pennsylvania, in 1931, he moved to Richmond, Virginia with his six brothers and sisters to live with his grandparents. He became one of the first Black Eagle Scouts in the state and eventually attended Virginia Union University and West Virginia State College.
Brooks spent three years in the Army as a lieutenant and was awarded the Bronze Medal for his combat medical work in World War II. After the war, he became a partner in a restaurant and worked as a manager in Troy's Department Store. His political activity began in 1957 when he was hired as an assistant to the Executive Secretary of the NAACP, W. Lester Banks.
Brooks became the Director of the NAACP national voter registration and education program in 1958 and continued at this post until 1975. He also worked as political action director for the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP and formed the Crusade for Voters in Richmond, Virginia with Drs. William S. Thornton and William Ferguson Reid.
After leaving the NAACP, he remained active in state and local politics as a Lobbyist while running Helen's Place with his wife. He was a lifetime member of the NAACP and was honored for his work by many local organizations including the AFRO, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Astoria Beneficial Club and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Mr. Brooks died on August 8, 1980.