1970 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"I helped people better understand government-how it works and how it fails."
Carl Stokes was born in Cleveland in 1927. His father was a laundry worker who died when Stokes was two. His widowed mother supported her two sons by working as a domestic. Stokes helped by working as a newspaper carrier and in neighborhood stores. He dropped out of high school to work full time in a foundry. He served in the Army and then returned to school, getting his high school diploma in 1947. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1954, and his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. In 1962, Stokes became the first African-American Democrat to be elected to the Ohio legislature. In 1967, he was elected mayor of Cleveland, making him the first African-American mayor of a major U. S. city. He was re-elected in 1969. He also served as ambassador to the African Republic of Seychelles.* Deceased