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Lori Stokes speaks about her father and uncle, pioneers in the civil rights era

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 18:26:08-05

CLEVELAND — Lori Stokes sat in the front row during an American drama that featured oppression and triumph.

“You felt the energy in the house, you heard the chatter. You knew something great and bold and a revolution was happening in the living room,” said Stokes. “It was a movement and they were leaders in the movement.”

Lori’s father, Louis wore many titles. Among them, he was lawyer, a congressman, a leader. His most important role: a father.

“They were just uncle Carl, and daddy,” said Lori.

Her Uncle, Carl Stokes, was Cleveland’s first African American mayor, and the first of a major American city. He was also the first African American male evening news anchor in New York.

“My dad was the one that was steady, who didn’t really need the spotlight but demanded it,” said Stokes. "He, along with his other black soldiers, were prepared to fight for this country, but instead they were relegated to cleaning barracks of white soldiers."

Stateside, until his final breath in 2015, Louis, a Civil Rights veteran, fought on the front lines for equality.