CARL STOKES, 1ST BLACK MAYOR
On this day, November 13th, 1967, Carl Stokes becomes the 1st Black Mayor of a major American city. Stokes defeated Seth Taft, grandson of 27th President William Taft in a 50.5% Margin to become the 1st Black Mayor of Cleveland, OH. Stokes had the ability to pull together the White and Black votes in a city that only had a 37% Black population.
As Mayor Stokes opened government jobs to Blacks and Women. He was known as a strong administrator and remembered for his vision and motivation. He also initiated “Cleveland: Now!” A public and private funding program aimed at revitalizing Cleveland neighborhoods.
After his 2nd term as Mayor Stokes went on to become the 1st black anchorman in NYC when he joined WNBC-TV. He was also appointed as a U.S. Ambassador by fromer President Bill Clinton and represented the U.S. on many Goodwill trips abroad by request of the White House.
Stokes has been awarded 12 Honorary degrees and has 3 buildings and a street named after him. He died of esophageal cancer in 1996 at the age of 68.