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Late U.S. Congressman Louis Stokes made history 50 years ago today when he was sworn in as the first Black congressman elected in the state of Ohio.

Stokes was born February 23, 1925 in Cleveland. His young brother, late Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes went on to become the first Black mayor of a major U.S. city in 1968.

Stokes served in the U.S. Army during World War II and after being discharged, he entered and graduated from Western Reserve University before going on to obtain his Doctor of Law degree from the Cleveland Marshall Law School at Cleveland State University.

After going into practice and teaching at the university level, Stokes began supporting the civil rights movement and moving into politics. In 1968, he was elected to office in the general elections after the new 21st District was established to reflect Black voters in the region.

Stokes served 15 terms in office, which included heading the Congressional Black Caucus, and also becoming the first Black member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Louis Stokes passed in 2015 at the age of 90.

 

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