CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland’s current Mayor Justin Bibb honored the city’s 51st mayor and the first African-American mayor of a major U.S. city Carl B. Stokes, during a special ceremony Wednesday outside city hall.
“He was a vanguard in creating the next era of Black political leadership across the nation,” Bibb said.
The Cleveland Restoration Society unveiled the second historical marker on the Cleveland Rights Trail in honor of Stokes, who was an advocate for clean water, environmental justice and equal rights for all.
The Carl Stokes Brigade President Deloris Gray said, “His vision was for social justice and to help all Black people everywhere as well as all Clevelanders to have a better chance at life.”
The marker is part of a project called, In their footsteps: developing an African-American civil rights trail in Cleveland.
Organizers saying the primary importance of this marker is its location; offering high visibility for residents and for people who visit from around the world.
Cleveland Council President Blaine Griffin said, “To have an African-America mayor of a major city and African-American council president of a major city work close together to make sure we keep the spirit of Carl Stokes moving to take care of the people of this city.”
During the ceremony, many spoke on the impact Stokes had on the city, the nation and their own lives, including his son who founded a company in his father’s and uncle’s honor, Louis Stokes.
Cordell Stokes said, “The name of the company was established as Carl, Louis and Cordell as a remembrance of what they have meant to me. And have they have built me to be able to deal with adversity that all of us have to go through.”
It’s a lasting legacy for future generations, now in the shadows of city hall.