Carl Stokes Papers

Carl Stokes (1927-1996) 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 correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, and newspaper clippings pertaining to the political career of Carl B. Stokes, including his terms in the Ohio State legislature, his mayoral campaigns, and particularly his tenure as mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. The collection details the organization of the mayor’s office, and illustrates the problems that Blacks in the vanguard of social and political progress faced, as well as the challenges faced by any urban leader in the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s. Key events in Stokes’ administration are illustrated, including the Glenville Shootout, the hiring and resignation of Safety Director Gen. Ben Davis, the activities of the Mayor’s Council on Youth Opportunities, and Cleveland: NOW! The work of then City Council President James Stanton is represented, along with material relating to Stokes’ brother Louis. Notable correspondents include Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Robert F. Kennedy, Spiro Agnew, Cyrus Eaton, Edward Kennedy, George Forbes, Jesse Jackson, and Howard Metzenbaum.