Although there were many African Americans in United States politics it wasn’t until the late 1960s that an African American was able to take the office of mayor in a major United States city. This person was Carl Stokes and he became major of Cleveland Ohio in 1968.
Carl Stoke’s educational accomplishments are amazing. He grew up in the first government low income housing in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Due to the hardships of the economy and finding work, Carl Stoke’s dropped out of high school in 1944. Although he was a great student the appeal of a job and money was higher then achieving an education at the time. He worked briefly in a local factory and when he reached the age to enter the military joined the army. After his discharge he returned to Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from high school. From there he went on to graduate college from the University of Minnesota and eventually the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law in Cleveland where he received his law degree.
If Carl Stoke’s educational path was amazing, his time as the mayor of Cleveland was even more impressive. Elected as mayor on November 7, 1967, Stokes had a lot of amazing accomplishments as mayor of a major US city. During his time as mayor of Cleveland he was able to help aid in the ability to open all city hall jobs to African Americans and women, which was a huge accomplishment for the time. He worked effortlessly to revive many historical neighborhoods in Cleveland, even starting and funding a private sponsor to work on helping to restore these neighborhoods. Stokes was elected for one more term after his first term as mayor but choose to not rerun for a third term.
After his time as mayor, Carl Stoke’s briefly traveled the country giving lectures to various college and universities talking about the major impact that being the first African American mayor of a major United States city has.