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Profile America — Saturday, November 8th. On this date in 1966, Edward Brooke became the nation's first African-American to win election to the U.S. Senate by popular vote, and only the third to serve in that house. During Reconstruction in the 1870s, two blacks chosen by Mississippi's legislature briefly represented the state as senators. Brooke's election ended an 85-year drought of black senators. Since his defeat in a bid for a third term in 1978, the chamber has seated six more African-Americans, one of whom cut his term short to become President. In the 2012 election, 56.5 percent of registered Americans voted. Massachusetts, with 65.4 percent participation, trailed very few states. One of them was Mississippi, with the nation's highest state voting rate of 73.3 percent. Profile America is in its 18th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.