‘An indelible legacy’: President Obama reflects on passing of Louis Stokes

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( The video above is of Congressman Stokes’ last appearance at Mt.Zion Church in Oakwood Village.)

President Barack Obama has released a statement honoring former Congressman Louis Stokes, who passed away late Tuesday.

Stokes was 90 and had been battling cancer.

Stokes, who was born in Cleveland and elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968, was the first African-American member of Congress elected from Ohio.

“Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former Congressman Louis Stokes. As a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first African-American to represent the state of Ohio in Congress, Lou believed deeply in fairness and the idea that every American should have the same opportunity to succeed. Growing up in Depression-era Cleveland with his mother and brother Carl, Lou triumphed over hardship to become a passionate voice for those less fortunate. He fought to expand access to quality healthcare in struggling communities and worked tirelessly on behalf of hardworking Ohioans. Lou leaves behind an indelible legacy in the countless generations of young leaders that he inspired, and he will be sorely missed. Michelle and I send our condolences to his wife Jay and the family and friends who loved him so dearly.”

Stokes represented Cleveland and east-side communities in Congress for 30 years until 1999. He chaired a committee that re-examined the assassinations of President John Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He also served in the military in World War II and later graduated from Cleveland Marshall Law School.

Plans for a funeral service, as well as a public tribute to Congressman Stokes, are expected to be announced soon.

**For several other statements and stories about Stokes from several local and state leaders, click here.**