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Remembering and Honoring the Life of Congressman Louis Stokes

Aug 19, 2015
Congressman Louis Stokes will be remembered in the annals of American history as one of the greatest African American politicians of his time.

He was the first black in Ohio to be elected to the United States Congress where he served 15 terms, beginning in 1968.

But Clevelanders know that Louis Stokes was more than a proud African American, more than just a politician. Nationally and locally, he was a transformational leader who helped bring about vital and enduring social changes.

He was highly regarded and warmly respected by all races and nationalities and beloved by the thousands of constituents he represented over the decades as their voice in Washington.

His story of growing up in poverty at the steady and hard-working hands of a single mother humbles us all. And his perseverance in achieving a college education and a degree in law is an inspiration to us all.

His mother, Louise, imbued in him and his brother, Carl, the first African American mayor of a big city, the desire and the understanding of the importance of education.

While he served in Congress some 30 years, his love of Cleveland never wavered and he came back to encourage the students who for a time attended his and Carl’s namesake school – the Carl & Louis Stokes Central Academy – as well as helping to move the city ever forward.

He will be greatly missed and I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

His mark on Cleveland will be indelible. His memory will be honored throughout the ages.