State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today announced the introduction of House Bill 83, legislation to designate the local boulevard known as Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland as the “Carl and Louis Stokes Opportunity Corridor.”
“Carl and Louis Stokes not only helped reshape politics and public policy in Cleveland and Ohio, but made lasting contributions to American history,” said Smith. “With 2017 marking the 50-year anniversary of Carl Stokes becoming the first African American to lead a major city, this road designation will mark the substantive accomplishments of Carl and Louis Stokes’ work and legacy.”
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968, Congressman Louis Stokes was the first African American member of Congress from the state of Ohio. During his 15-term career at the Capitol, Congressman Stokes led the Select Committee on Assassinations that investigated the slayings of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., headed the Congressional Black Caucus, and was the first African American member on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
“The Stokes brothers made significant contributions to our state and nation through their dedicated careers in public service, and their lasting legacy still inspires younger generations even today,” said Howse. “I am proud to be a joint sponsor of legislation naming the Carl and Louis Stokes Opportunity Corridor. Together, we can help ensure Louis and Carl Stokes continue to receive the recognition they so rightfully deserve.”
Carl Stokes, Louis’ brother, served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives starting in 1962, working to push back against gerrymandering and engage more African Americans and women in the political process. He was also the first African American mayor for one of the nation’s ten largest cities when he was elected as mayor of Cleveland in 1965.