Carl Stokes was the mayor of Cleveland, Ohio from 1967-1971. Stokes was the first African American mayor of a major American city and the first African American Democrat in the Ohio State Legislature, where he served three terms from 1962-1967. As mayor, Stokes launched a number of programs to alleviate the problems of urban decay. Chief among these was Cleveland: NOW!, a joint public and private program with plans to raise $177 million in its first two years to revitalize Cleveland. The program was discredited due to the Glenville Shootout in July, 1968. Under Stokes, Cleveland City Council passed the Equal Employment Opportunity Ordinance, and HUD resumed funding projects aiding in the construction of over 3,000 new low- and middle-income housing units. Stokes became a newscaster with NBC television in 1972, and returned to his law practice in Cleveland in 1980. In 1983, Stokes was elected a municipal court judge. The collection consists of speeches, correspondence, datebooks, budgets, lectures, newspaper clippings, publications, telegrams, reports, resumes, agendas, press releases, programs, flyers, certificates, legal documents, newsletters, transcripts, proposals, lists, minutes, and a yearbook.
Carl Stokes, and his brother Louis, were groundbreaking African-American politicians from Cleveland, Ohio. Carl Stokes became the first black mayor of a major U.S. city when elected in 1967. Louis Stokes was the first African-American congressman from Ohio when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968, a position he held for 15 consecutive terms. During Carl Stokes two mayoral terms, city hall jobs were opened to blacks and women, and a number of urban renewal projects were initiated. Between 1983 and 1994 Carl Stokes served as municipal judge, and in 1994 was appointed by President Clinton as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Seychelles. Louis Stokes began his career as a civil rights attorney, and helped challenge the Ohio redistricting in 1965 that fragmented African-American voting strength. In 1967, Louis Stokes argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Terry v. Ohio case, also known as the "stop-and-frisk" case. In the 1970s, Louis Stokes served as chair on Assassinations and in the 1980s was a noted member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. The collection includes 34 interviews with family and friends, associates and staff, and was conducted to commemorate the 50th anniversaries of Carl Stokes election as mayor and Louis Stokes to Congress.