Stokes: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

This collection of interviews was conducted by staff at Cuyahoga Community College's Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center as part of a yearlong, community-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Carl Stokes' election as mayor of Cleveland. Mayor Stokes and his brother, Congressman Louis Stokes, played key roles in the advancement of the city and the nation through the civil rights movement and beyond. For more information about the project, please visit www.stokes50cle.com.


Albert B. Ratner is a native Clevelander. He is an avid philanthropist and the co-chairman of Forest City Realty Trust, a nationwide real estate development firm. For twenty years he was the CEO of his family owned business Forest City Enterprises,…

Angela Stokes is the daughter of Louis Stokes and a graduate of the University of Maryland and Howard University Law School. She was Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio and a Cleveland Municipal Court Judge for twenty years. This 2017…

Ben S. Stefanski II was born in Garfield Heights and graduated from Case Western Reserve University and The University of Michigan. He served as Utilities Director for Carl Stokes and worked to combat pollution Lake Erie as well as developing the…

Betty Pinkney and her husband, Arnold, were long time advocates for the Stokes brothers. Arnold helped elect Louis to Congress and was a major strategist for the Democratic party. Arnold Pinkney, an insurance executive, also ran Jesse Jackson's…

Robert Gries was born in Cleveland. For fifty years he was a minority owner of the Cleveland Browns and is a former venture capitalist. Gries is a tireless philanthropist supporting many civic organizations. He served as the finance chair for Carl…

Brent Larkin is the retired director of the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial page. His career as a journalist covering Cleveland politics began in 1971. This 2017 interview was collected as part of a yearlong, community-wide commemoration of the 50th…