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<> on April 4, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From Think Progress:

Stuart Scott, the ESPN anchor who became a sports media pioneer because of his embrace of his race and unique style of highlight delivery, died Sunday after a long bout with cancer. He was 49.

Scott joined ESPN in 1993 and remained there throughout his career, working his way from a nightly role on ESPN2 to hosting gigs on ESPN’s NBA and NFL programming. But he will be remembered most for his time behind SportsCenter’s anchor desk, a position that made him a celebrity in the sports world and allowed him to leave an enduring mark on both ESPN and the sports media as a whole.

In a media world largely devoid of both African-American faces and, especially, African-American vernacular, Scott’s iconic catchphrases — “Boo-Yeah!”, “Cool as the other side of the pillow,” and “Can I get a witness?” chief among them — brought a style that had been absent from sports and media programming straight to ESPN’s most-watched program and, by virtue, to the living rooms of white and black families alike.

Scott’s popularity, and the appeal of his brand of style, made him an icon for other aspiring African-American broadcasters who hadn’t seen anything like him on TV before.

“He was a trailblazer not only because he was black — obviously black — but because of his style, his demeanor, his presentation,” ESPN anchor Stan Verrett, also black, told ABC News for Scott’s obituary. “He did not shy away from the fact that he was a black man, and that allowed the rest of us who came along to just be ourselves.”

“Yes, he brought hip-hop into the conversation,” Jay Harris, another SportsCenter anchor who followed in Scott’s footsteps, said. “But I would go further than that. He brought in the barber shop, the church, R&B, soul music. Soul period.”

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brooke

From the Washington Post:

Edward W. Brooke, who in 1966 became the first African American popularly elected to the U.S. Senate and who influenced major anti-poverty laws before his bright political career unraveled over allegations of financial impropriety, died Jan. 3 at his home in Coral Gables, Fla. He was 95.

Ralph Neas, a family spokesman and former legislative aide to the senator, confirmed the death. The cause was not immediately disclosed.

Mr. Brooke, a liberal Massachusetts Republican, was one of only two African Americans to serve in the Senate in the 20th century. He was the first to serve since Reconstruction, when state legislatures appointed senators. Six African Americans have served in the Senate since Mr. Brooke left office in 1979, including Barack Obama, who was a U.S. senator from Illinois when he was elected president in 2008.

In a statement Saturday offering condolences to Brooke’s family, Obama said Brooke “stood at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness,” adding that “he sought to build consensus and understanding across partisan lines, always working towards practical solutions to our nation’s challenges.”

Mr. Brooke grew up in a racially divided Washington. After distinguished combat service in the segregated U.S. Army during World War II, he forged a legal and political career in Massachusetts, becoming the state’s hard-charging attorney general before winning election to the Senate.

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