Carl Stokes

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Cleveland, Ohio
Birth Sign
Cleveland, Ohio

Carl Stokes was the 51st mayor of Cleveland in the United States. His election as the mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, ushers in a new era in American politics. Carl was an alumnus of the prestigious University of Minnesota Law School, despite coming from a low-income family. He began his career as an associate municipal prosecutor for the Ohio bar. When he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, he began his political career. As mayor of Cleveland, he was instrumental in establishing job possibilities for African-Americans and women. He handled the difficult situation in Cleveland during the movement of white residents deftly. In his memoirs, “Promises of Power,” he stated that the Glenville Shootout, which ended in the deaths of six black residents, wrecked his efforts to forge a feeling of unity in Cleveland in the face of racial discrimination. He was the first black anchorman in New York City, working for the television channel WNBC. This prominent politician, who has received numerous honorary degrees and civic accolades, has represented America on multiple goodwill missions around the world. In 1970, the National League of Cities elected him as the first black president-elect.

Childhood and Adolescence

Carl Burton Stokes was the second son of Charles, a laundryman, and Louise Stokes, a cleaning woman, and was born into a black Cleveland household. His father died while he was a child. Carl and his brother Louis were reared in a public housing project for the impoverished by their mother. During his early youth, it was his mother who emphasized the need of education. Despite being an excellent student, he dropped out of high school in 1944 and worked for Thompson Products for a short time.

He then joined the United States Army and served in occupied Germany during WWII. He attended West Virginia College after his release from the army in 1946. After that, he went to Cleveland College of Western Reserve University to study psychology. He served as an agent with the Ohio State Department of Liquor Control for three years.

He graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School with a Bachelor of Science degree in law in 1954. He then went on to Cleveland-Marshall Law School, where he received his JD in 1956. He was also a probation officer in Cleveland at the time.

Career of Carl Stokes

He joined the Ohio bar in 1957 and worked as an assistant city prosecutor. He was actively involved in several civil rights initiatives during this time. He was also an active member of the Democratic Party at the time. He founded Stokes, Stokes, a law business with his brother Louis Stokes after leaving the position as assistant city prosecutor in 1962. In the same year, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives as the first black Democrat and won office in Cuyahoga County.

He worked for the court, industry, labor, and public welfare committees. After three terms as mayor of Cleveland, he was defeated in the 1965 mayoral race. He defeated Seth Taft, the grandson of President William H. Taft, in the 1967 election.

At the time, racial discrimination in Cleveland was a major concern in the United States. During his time as mayor, he took steps to improve Cleveland’s economic situation. He took moves to raise the city’s income tax as part of his duties.

His ideas for the overall enhancement of Cleveland, such as the establishment of schools, housing projects, a zoo, and other city projects, were approved by voters. Carl was the one who advocated for black employees to be hired at City Hall.

He took a number of initiatives to better the lives of the underprivileged and marginalized members of society. He also worked tirelessly to reorganize Cleveland’s police agency. ‘Cleveland: Now!’ was his initiative to restore Cleveland’s neighborhood districts, which he unveiled on May 1, 1968. To make the strategy work, he persuaded Cleveland’s local business leaders to participate in a fundraising campaign focused at preserving the city’s inner peace.

But his efforts were in vain when it was revealed that the 1968 Glenville Shootout was funded by ‘Cleveland: Now!’ His reputation was tarnished as a result of this episode, and funding for his proposal dried up.  In 1971, he resigned as mayor. He then relocated to New York City, where he worked as an anchorman for the television station WNBC the next year. He worked as a labor lawyer after returning to Cleveland in 1980. He worked for the United Auto Workers as general counsel. He worked as a municipal judge in Cleveland from 1983 to 1994. He was nominated as the United States Ambassador to the Republic of the Seychelles by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Personal History and Legacy

Shirley Edwards, whom he married in 1958 and divorced in 1973, was his first wife. Carl Jr., Cordi, and Cordell were their three children. In 1981, he married Raija Kostadinov, a former model from Finland. He has a daughter, Cynthia, and a stepson, Sasha Kostadinov, with Raija. In 1993, they divorced. In 1996, he married for the third time.
He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer while serving as Ambassador to the Seychelles. In Cleveland, he passed away.

Estimated Net Worth

Carl Stokes is one of the richest Politician & listed on most popular Politician. According to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, Carl Stokes net worth is approximately $1.5 Million.


When he was younger, this powerful American politician used to deliver newspapers and work in small stores to help support his family.