Side A: Carl Stokes was born in Cleveland on June 21, 1927. Recognized for his trailblazing service as a public official, Stokes is one of the few American politicians whose career spanned all three branches of state government. Over 30 years, he served 3 terms as an Ohio legislator (1963-1967), 2 terms as Cleveland’s mayor (1967-1971), and 8 years as a municipal court judge (1983-1994). In 1972, he became the first Black anchorman for a television station in New York City. After a decade working in television, Stokes returned to Cleveland to work as an attorney for the United Auto Workers. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Seychelles. While serving as Ambassador, he was diagnosed with cancer. Carl Stokes died, in Cleveland, on April 3, 1996.
Side B: When Carl Stokes was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1967, he became the first African American mayor of a major American city. At the time, Cleveland ranked as the 8th largest city in the nation. During his tenure, Stokes fought for the city’s Black population, securing more jobs than any time previously. He was emphatic that Black businesses receive city contracts and that banks lend money to Black-owned businesses. His Cleveland NOW! antipoverty program sought and won funding from federal, state, local, and private sources for urban development. Despite significant challenges, including a shootout between Black Nationalists and Cleveland police, Stokes persevered and served two full terms before deciding not to run again in 1971. As Cleveland’s mayor, Stokes “transformed the energy of the civil rights movement into a model of black political power.”