Louis Stokes

From Ohio History Central

Louis Stokes is a political leader and elected official from Cleveland, Ohio. With his brother, Carl Stokes, these two men became two of the most recognized political voices of African Americans in the 1960s and 970s.

Stokes was born on February 23, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of eighteen, Stokes enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. He remained in military service from 1943 to 1946. After receiving his discharge, Stokes enrolled at the Cleveland College of Western Reserve University and graduated in 1948. He later graduated from the Cleveland Marshall Law School in 1953. Stokes practiced law in Cleveland and taught classes at several local colleges and universities.

In 1968, Stokes was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Democratic Party. He represented Cleveland in the next fifteen Congresses and served from 1969 until 1999. In the House of Representatives, Stokes served on a number of committees. Among his important assignments were the chairmanships of the Select Committee on Assassinations, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. His constituents especially appreciated Stokes's efforts to secure federal funds to revitalize Cleveland's crumbling inner city. In 1998, Stokes chose not to run for reelection. He retired from public service and moved to Silver Springs, Maryland.

Stokes and his brother, former Cleveland Mayor Carl B. Stokes, symbolized the growing acceptance of African Americans in politics by white Americans. The Stokes brothers dramatically increased African-American political prestige during the 1960s and the 1970s.

See Also


  1. Fenno, Richard F. Going Home: Black Representatives and Their Constituents. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
  2. Moore, Leonard. Carl B. Stokes and the Rise of Black Political Power. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2003.
  3. Stokes, Carl B. Promises of Power: A Political Autobiography. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1973.