in full Carl Burton Stokes
June 21, 1927,
—died April 3, 1996,
) American lawyer and politician, who became the first African American to serve
as mayor of a major
city, having been elected to that office in
young child when his father died, Stokes held a number of odd jobs to help
support his family. He dropped out of high school to work in a foundry and later
served (1945–46) in the U.S. Army during World War II. After earning his high
school diploma, he studied law at the
(B.S., 1954) and
(LL.B., 1956). In 1957 he passed the bar and the following year was appointed
assistant city prosecutor in
. During this time Stokes became increasingly involved in civil rights
activities and the Democratic Party.
1962 Stokes was elected to the Ohio General Assembly, where hin full Carl
Burton Stokese developed a reputation as a moderate. Narrowly defeated in
his 1965 bid for
's mayorship, he won the post in 1967. As mayor, Stokes sought to improve
's declining economy and to create racial unity. His efforts were undermined in
1968 by the Glenville riots, in which a shoot-out between police officers and
African Americans led to several deaths and sparked looting and arson. He was
reelected in 1969 but retired from politics in 1971.
then moved to
New York City
to become a television news anchor and later won an Emmy Award for his
broadcast work. After returning to
, he served as general counsel (1980–83) to the United Automobile Workers
before being elected a municipal court judge in 1983. From 1994 to 1995 Stokes
. His autobiography, Promises of Power, was
published in 1973.
Copyright © 1994-2006 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
© 2005 by Salita Walker