Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Black community prays for retired Ohio congressman Louis Stokes, who is seriously ill with lung and brain cancer, Stokes is Ohio's first Black congressperson and the brother of the late Carl B. Stokes, the first Black mayor of Cleveland and of a major American city....State Representative Bill Patmon comments, says Louis Stokes is a legend and is irreplaceable....By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor of Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

Retired 11th congressional district congressman Louis Stokes, and his wife, Jay Stokes.
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and the Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: 216-659-0473. Email: Coleman is a 22-year political, legal and investigative journalist who trained for 17 years, and under five different editors, at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.  ( / ( 

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio- Retired U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes of Shaker Heights, Ohio, the state's first Black congressperson and the only sibling of the late Carl B. Stokes, the first Black mayor of Cleveland and of a major American city, is battling lung and brain cancer, and is reportedly seriously ill.

"I've made it my career in fighting for the people of Ohio, but now I must devote my time and energy to working with my doctors in this current health challenge," Stokes said in a press release.

Greater Cleveland Black elected officials and the Black  community in general are praying for the elder statesman.

"We are praying for Congressman Stokes, who is a historic legend who stood up for us in Congress, and set down for us,  in Congress and otherwise," said state Rep. Bill Patmon (D-10), a Cleveland Democrat and former city councilman. "He is irreplaceable."

The former congressman and his family have requested privacy. That, however, is unlikely due to his popularity and stature, sources told Cleveland Urban News.Com yesterday. 

Stokes, 90, is also the father of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes, though he has three other grown children, and a devoted wife, Jay Stokes, his second wife.

The Stokes brothers, who rose from a Cleveland housing project to become prominent political figures on the local, state and national levels, have built a political legacy in Cleveland, and elsewhere, Carl Stokes first elected mayor in 1967 and later serving as a New York anchorman, a United States Ambassador to Seychelles, and a  Cleveland judge, and Louis Stokes, the older of the two siblings, winning a seat in Congress.

Carl Stokes died in 1996 at 68-years-old of cancer of the esophagus.

A Democrat like his brother and daughter Angela, the elder Stokes served 15 terms in Congress representing Cleveland and several of its eastern suburbs before retiring in 1998. He worked later as an executive attorney at the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of Squires, Sanders and Dempsey. 

When he retired from Congress as a senior federal lawmaker, Stokes handed the congressional helm to the late Stephanie Tubbs -Jones, a Cuyahoga County prosecutor at the time who  was later elected to several terms before dying suddenly in 2008 of a brain aneurysm.

Tubbs -Jones was succeeded by current 11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a former Warrensville Heights, Ohio mayor, and a prior national president of Delta Sigma Theta Inc, a sorority, among others,  of Black women. 

Tubbs-Jones was also Black, as is Fudge, both of them also attorneys, and Tubbs-Jones also a municipal and then common pleas judge before becoming county prosecutor, and thereafter a member of Congress. 

The 11th congressional district, which is formerly the 21st congressional district,  is largely Black, and most of the constituents are poor, data show. ( / (