Stokes, Carl Burton

Stokes, Carl Burton, 1927–96, American political leader, b. Cleveland. A 1956 graduate of the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, Stokes began his political career as a Democratic member of the Ohio general assembly (1962–67). In 1965 he narrowly lost a race for mayor of Cleveland. In 1967 he ran again and became the first African American to be elected mayor of a major American city. He was reelected in 1969, but after his second term he left politics to become a news broadcaster in New York City. He returned to Cleveland in 1980 and was general counsel to the United Automobile Workers. In 1983 Stokes was elected municipal court judge, serving two terms as head of the court. He then served (1994–95) as ambassador to the Seychelles.

See his memoirs, Promises of Power (1983).

His brother, Louis Stokes, 1925–2015, b. Cleveland, grad. Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1953, was a civil rights lawyer and politician. A Democrat, he was elected to the first of 15 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968, after his participation in a successful challenge (1967) to race-based districts in Ohio led to redistricting. A strong advocate of subsidized public housing, he was chairman of the Select Committee on Assassinations (1977–79), of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (1981–85, 1987–89), and of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (1987–98).

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