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Historical society honors George Forbes for his successful career, contributions to city of Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- The Western Reserve Historical Society is inviting the community to join in the celebration of the career and life of Cleveland's influential politicians.

Once named the most powerful person in the history of Cleveland City Council, George Forbes is definitely a legend in his own right.

The 87-year-old made a rare public appearance Wednesday, announcing a much-anticipated celebration weekend in Cleveland next month.

But that's not all, Forbes will be attending a news conference at the Western Reserve Historical Society on East Boulevard, where organizers announced Forbes' donation of documents and records he collected during his 60-year political career.

The papers will be added to the historical society's archive of local and regional history and will create a rare research opportunity for those interested in the role of African-Americans in Cleveland politics.

Forbes referenced his infamous chair toss at a City Council colleague back in the 1980s, stressing the passion he had and still has for this city.

Forbes said, "Even though I did foolish things that came across crazy, I always wanted to do the right thing for people. Always wanted to do the right thing for people, and to make sure that black people share in the fruits of what we were doing. That sounds strange but that's who I am, that's what I am, and that's what I did."

Forbes was born in the Jim Crow south and came to Cleveland in 1948.

His election to the Cleveland City Council representing ward 27 in the Glenville area in 1963 began one of Cleveland's most noteworthy marches to political power.

He served as council president from 1974 to 1989, during the terms of five mayors.

Forbes will be honored during the weekend of October 13 and 14, beginning with a celebration dinner gala at the Western Reserve Historical Society, following a free community open house on Sunday.

Proceeds from the gala going directly to the society's African-American Archives Program, which enhances the preservation and awareness of the African-American experience in Cleveland.