Funeral services for Bishop Hamel Hartford “H.H.” Brookins, a retired pastor of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, were scheduled for Friday at the church.
Brookins, 86, had played a major role as a civil rights leader and a political kingmaker. He died May 22 at his home in Los Angeles.
Bishop Brookins marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the South. He helped start the political career of Tom Bradley, a five-term Los Angeles mayor, and he was a principal strategist in the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign.
He called Jackson’s presidential bid “the best thing since ice cream.”
Rev. Edgar E. Boyd, pastor of Bethel AME Church in San Francisco, remembered Brookins “as a man who had more to do with my ministerial career than I am able to articulate.”
“Unique in his own charismatic style,” Brookins was a national religious leader, who played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the political landscape for Black Politicians from California all the way to Washington, said Rev. Boyd.
“Bishop Brookins was my mentor,” Rev. Boyd said. “I received six pastoral appointments under his leadership, the last one in 1982, to Brookins AME Church in Oakland, where I led the congregation in relocating and building the present sanctuary building at 73rd and Arthur Streets.
Bishop Brookins brought a Renaissance of “Spiritual Jubilee” to the AME and other Black religious communions in California and to Western USA, Rev. Boyd said. “As a renowned pulpiteer, his style of preaching and worship, mixed with the lore of political wisdom, provided a bridge to move the civil rights gains from the halls of Congress in Washington during the 1960s, into the communities and neighborhoods.”
Brookins was born in Yazoo City, Miss., on June 8, 1925, the seventh of 10 children of sharecroppers. He attended Campbell College in Jackson, Miss., where he became pastor of his first church.