This interview was conducted as part of Cleveland State University's 50th Anniversary Commemoration effort. Born and raised in Cleveland, Louis Stokes is most widely recognized as being the first African-American to be elected to Congress from Ohio. Stokes graduated from Central High School and was drafted into the army during WW2. Following his service in the military he attended Western Reserve University on his GI Bill and continued on to earn his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall Law School. After law school Stokes practiced law for a number of years with his brother Carl, who later made history when he was elected mayor of Cleveland, the first African-American to hold that office in a major US city, and the prominent defense lawyer Norman Minor. Of particular interest is Stokes' description of Cleveland-Marshall, especially its dean, Wilson G. Stapleton, stories of his early years in the law profession, and his account the events leading to his election to Congress.
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Oral history interviews with select alumni, trustees, faculty, and other friends of Cleveland State University, conducted by staff at the CSU Center for Public History and Digital Humanities in coordination with the Office of the President and Office of Alumni Affairs on the occasion of CSU's 50th anniversary.