Louis Stokes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Louis Stokes
Louis Stokes.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Dennis E. Eckart
Succeeded by Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 21st district
In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Charles Vanik
Succeeded by District eliminated
Personal details
Born (1925-02-23) February 23, 1925 (age 90)
Cleveland, Ohio
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jay Stokes 1940-present
Children Shelley Stokes-Hammond, Angela R. Stokes, Louis "Chuck" Stokes,and Lori Stokes
Residence Cleveland, Ohio
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943-1946
Battles/wars World War II

Louis Stokes (born February 23, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a retired attorney and politician from Cleveland, Ohio. He served 15 terms in the United States House of Representatives - representing the east side of Cleveland - and was the first black congressman elected in the state of Ohio.[1]


Born in Cleveland, Stokes and his brother Carl B. Stokes lived in one of the first federally funded housing projects, the Outhwaite Homes. Louis attended Central High School. Stokes served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. After attending Western Reserve University and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Stokes began practicing law in Cleveland in 1953. Stokes argued the seminal "stop and frisk" case of Terry v. Ohio before the United States Supreme Court in 1968. Later in 1968, he was elected to the House, representing the 21st District of Ohio on Cleveland's East Side. He shifted to the newly created 11th District, covering much of the same area following a 1992 redistricting. Stokes served 30 years in total, retiring in 1999.

Stokes' tenure in the House of Representatives included service on the House Appropriations Committee, where he was influential in bringing revenue to Cleveland. He was particularly interested in veterans' issues and secured funds for health-care facilities for veterans in Cleveland. In the 1970s, Stokes served as Chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, charged with investigating the murders of President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.. Stokes also served on the House committee that investigated the Iran-Contra Affair.

Stokes' brother, Carl B. Stokes, was the first African American mayor of a large American city. His daughter, Angela Stokes, serves as a Cleveland Municipal Court judge while another, Lori Stokes, is a journalist with WABC-TV New York. His son, Chuck Stokes, is also a journalist with WXYZ-TV in Detroit. Funk and soul musician Rick James was a cousin. Stokes and his wife, Jay, have seven grandchildren. He is also a Prince Hall Freemason,[2] and a member of the Cleveland Alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Stokes retired in 2012 as Senior Counsel in the law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, with offices in Cleveland and Washington.[3]


The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, located in Cleveland, Ohio, opened the Louis Stokes Museum on September 13, 2007. This Museum houses Stokes memorabilia, video interviews, misc. video footage, awards and a written history about Stokes and his rise to prominence. The museum is located at Outhwaite Homes, 4302 Quincy Avenue. Hours are from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Private viewings can be scheduled by calling 216-432-3840.

From 2006 to 2008, the Western Reserve Historical Society opened an exhibition on the lives of Congressman Stokes and his brother titled "Carl and Louis Stokes: From the Projects to Politics". The exhibit uses photographs, manuscript collections, and personal items to showcase Louis Stokes' rise from the Outhwaite homes, his legal career, and his Congressional service.

The former Congressman was inducted into the Karamu House Hall of Fame in 2007 for his contributions to the continued legacy of Cleveland's black settlement house and theatre.

Many buildings throughout the country have been named in Stokes honor including: Howard University's medical library, the Cleveland Public Library's main building expansion, GCRTA's Windermere station Louis Stokes Station at Windermere, and the greater Cleveland area Veteran's hospital was renamed the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center.


On July 20, 2015, it was reported that the 90-year old Stokes was suffering from both brain cancer as well as lung cancer.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stokes diagnosed with cancer - Cleveland.com
  2. ^ Gray, David (2012). The History of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio F&AM 1971 – 2011: The Fabric of Freemasonry. Columbus, Ohio: Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio F&AM. p. 414. ISBN 978-0615632957. 
  3. ^ http://www.squiresanders.com/squire-sanders-announces-louis-stokes-retirement-as-senior-counsel/

External links[edit]