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Mon, 02.23.1925

Louis Stokes, Politician born

Louis Stokes

*Louis Stokes was born on this date in 1925. He was a Black politician and administrator.

From Cleveland, Ohio, he was one of two sons born to Charles and Louise Stokes. His father died when he was a young boy and Louis and his younger brother Carl Stokes, were brought up by their young widowed mother. Stokes was educated in the Cleveland Public Schools, graduating from his hometowns Central High School. Following three years in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946, he returned to Cleveland and attended Western Reserve University. He received his Doctor of Laws Degree from Cleveland Marshall Law School in 1953.

Prior to his entering politics, Stokes practiced law for fourteen years in Cleveland. He was chief trial counsel for the firm of Stokes, Character, Terry, Perry, Whitehead, Young and Davidson. Stokes participated in three cases in the United States Supreme Court, including the landmark “stop and frisk” case of Terry v. Ohio. He was elected to Congress in 1968, making him the first African American member of Congress from Ohio. He served 15 consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, ranking 11th overall in House seniority.

Stokes was the senior member of the Ohio congressional delegation, a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, and was a member of the House Ethics and Intelligence committees. When he retired from Congress, Stokes became the first African American in the history of the U.S. Congress to retire having completed 30 years in office. He and his wife Jay were the parents of Shelley, Angela, Louis and Lori, and grandparents to Brett, Eric and Grant Hammond; Kelley and Kimberly Stokes; and Alexandra and Nicolette Thompson. Stokes was also a member of the board of directors of Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

Stokes was the recipient of 26 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities across the nation, and several institutions, including Howard University and the National Institutes of Health, have recognized Stokes by naming certain buildings after him.  Louis Stokes died on August 18, 2015

To Become a Political Scientist


Black Americans In Congress 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990

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