Cleveland, OH—Congressman Louis Stokes has been named an Honorary Trustee of the Board of Directors at the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS). Stokes, who served as a board member of the institution for nine years, announced his retirement from his post for the end of his term June 30, 2014. The Board unanimously elected Stokes to the honorary designation to recognize his contributions not only to WRHS, but to Cleveland and the county. The designation of Honorary Trustee has been awarded to only a handful of individuals in the 147 year history of WRHS.
Stokes began his career as a lawyer with a special interest in activism in the arena of civil rights. It was the relationship he built with the Cleveland community through civil rights law that led him to run for office. In 1968, Stokes became the first African-American elected to the United State House of Representatives from the State of Ohio. He served 15 consecutive terms, totaling 30 years of service. Stokes was a strong advocate of education, affirmative action programs, housing and development projects, and healthcare improvement initiatives. The Louis Stokes wing of the Cleveland Public Library, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, and Greater Cleveland RTA’s Louis Stokes station at Windermere, are a few of the locations in the Cleveland area that bear his name as a testament to his service and his invaluable contribution to the area and the country.