Edgar Brookins, the longtime circulation and general manager of the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper, died on Dec. 1 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Brookins, 74, died at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Frances Murphy II, the publisher of the Washington AFRO, appointed Brookins as circulation manager in 1989 after interacting with him at a social event. From 1989 to 1999, Brookins and Murphy worked hard to ensure that copies of the AFRO appeared at churches and social functions as well as at retail outlets. During the week of the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference, he could be seen talking to patrons and encouraging them to subscribe to the newspaper. Additionally, he initiated a program where sponsors, corporate and individual, paid to have bundles of newspapers sent overseas to troops stationed in such places as Germany and South Korea.
In 1999, the AFRO-American Newspaper’s board of directors selected Brookins to be new general manager of the Washington office with the retirement of Murphy. Brookins gained the reputation as a newspaper stalwart by coming into the office by 7 a.m. and leaving often at 6 p.m. to attend a reception or social function promoting the AFRO. Additionally, Brookins often appeared on Thursdays on WUSA-TV Channel 9 in its morning segment informing viewers on stories that appeared in the AFRO.
Brookins semi-retired from the AFRO in November 2018 at a ceremony attended by Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes, among many others. But he continued to go to the Washington AFRO office two days a week to make sure that the newspapers had been distributed and other administrative matters had been completed.
Brookins participated actively in his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and served in a number of capacities as a member of the Fort Myer Chapter located in Arlington, Va.
He also had longtime active memberships in the Black Public Relations Society, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. After his daughter, Cierra, passed away from complications due to lupus in 2016, Brookins founded the Ciera Brookins Lupus Educational Foundation, LLC., to educate people about the disease.
Before joining the AFRO, Brookins served over 20 years in the U.S. Army. He traveled extensively while in the military serving in bases throughout Europe and Asia. He rose to the rank of captain and worked primarily in communications. While in the military, he completed the Armed Forces Staff College and the Command General Staff College.
He retired in 1989 and moved to the Washington, D.C. area to be close to family members.
Brookins received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi in 1969. Brookins was born Nov. 23, 1947.
He’s survived by a son, Lt. Colonel Dr. Dexter Brookins, two daughters, Tara and Angel, several grandchildren and a host of other relatives.
A Homegoing Celebration will be held in Brookins’ honor at the Memorial Chapel on Dec. 18 with the formal event taking place at 11 a.m. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.