A Tribute to Israel Brooks, Jr.
Israel Brooks, Jr. was a highly decorated man of service. First in the Marine Corp, then as the first African American man to join the South Carolina State Troopers, and later as a US Marshall, he dedicated his life to making our state safe for everyone.
Brooks was a Newberry City native, born on June 30, 1944. He grew up on Emory Street, went to Drayton Elementary, and graduated from Gallman High School in 1962. That year he also married his sweetheart, Barbara Lee Gallman and joined the US Marine Corps. He was a platoon leader and rose to Sargent E-5 before being honorably discharged in 1966.
In 1967 Brooks joined the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the first African American man to do so. He was assigned to Beaufort, SC, and his work there earned him District 6 Highway Patrolman of the year in 1973, and promotions to Corporal in 1974 and Sergeant in 1975.
He continued to earn promotions and honors and in 1990 he was assigned Patrol Administrative Officer, second in command of the Highway Patrol. He was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for the US in 1992.
In 1994 Senator Ernest Fritz Hollings nominated Brooks to be a US Marshal. The image to the right shows Israel Brooks being sworn in by Senator Hollings, while Mrs. Brooks holds the Bible.
During his tenure as US Marshal, he earned the Distinguished District of the Year award in 1996. The award recognized his leadership in making the District of South Carolina "the best district in the nation in efficiency, service, and work ethic."
Israel Brooks, Jr. was a devoted father and community activist. He was an ordained Deacon at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, SC. He led by example in outreach to his community. He also worked with organizations like scouting.
He coached various sports, and encouraged physical fitness. The SC Criminal Justice Academy awards the Israel Brooks, Jr. Physical Fitness Award to an exceptional Candidate in the Basic Law Enforcement class.
After his death in 2007, his family started the Israel Brooks, Jr. Foundation to provide financial support to students attending college. Every year the foundation hosts a memorial golf tournament in his honor to fund the scholarships. To learn more, click here.