The Honorable Louis Stokes, U.S. Congressman from Ohio (retired)

U.S. Congressman Louis StokesDistinguished Visiting Professor

Mr. Louis Stokes represented his Ohio District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. Elected on Nov. 6, 1968, he was the first African American member of Congress from the state of Ohio. The thrust of his career focused on advocacy for the poor and disadvantaged, especially those in urban America. He sponsored legislation to help people of color enter the intelligence community, fought for adequate housing for the poor, and was the sponsor of the Disadvantaged Minority Health Improvement Act of 1989. Other legislative efforts included sponsorship of programs for minority professionals in health, science and engineering at the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, respectively. He served with six presidents during his 30 years in Congress.

Mr. Stokes and his brother, Carl, grew up in an impoverished part of Cleveland. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury during the day while attending Case Western Reserve University at night. He earned a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Mr. Stokes is the recipient of innumerable distinguished service awards, recognitions, certificates of appreciation and honorary degrees. Recent recognition includes the inaugural "Pillar of Justice Award" from the Northern District of Ohio Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, which he received in 2009. In 2010 he received the prestigious American Bar Association "Spirit of Excellence Award” for his dedication to ensuring racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. He now serves as senior counsel at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, and is the distinguished visiting professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. He has been married to Jeannette Jay since 1960—they have four adult children and seven grandchildren.