Stokes, Louis

Stokes, Louis (b. February 23, 1925, Cleveland, Ohio), Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio (1969-1999). His 1968 election made Stokes the first black member of Congress from Ohio.

He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 and then attended Case Western Reserve University from 1946 to 1948. Stokes received a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall Law School in 1953 and worked as a lawyer before becoming the U.S. Representative from Ohio's 11th Congressional District. He was reelected every two years beginning in 1970 and defeated his Republican opponent by nearly 125,000 votes in 1996.

A predominantly black, Democratic area, the 11th District covers eastern Cleveland and its suburbs, including Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights. Redistricting during the 1990s has added more white and middle-class voters to the district. Case Western Reserve University and many of Cleveland's prominent cultural institutions are located here.

In 1993, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, Stokes became the chair of the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Subcommittee. After the Republican Party gained control of Congress in 1995, Stokes lost his chairmanship and became ranking member. In the 105th Congress (1997-1999), he also served on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. He was also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. He retired from Congress at the end of his term in 1999.