WASHINGTON - Carl Stokes became the first African- American mayor of a major U.S. city when he was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1967. He was born in that city in 1927, and dropped out of high school to join the army in 1944.
After his discharge, he earned his high school diploma, went to college and graduated from law school. During his years as mayor, he opened city hall jobs to blacks and women and is remembered for his vision and innovation.
After leaving office, stokes worked in television, and became a municipal judge. Most recent statistics show there are nearly 5,800 African-Americans serving in county and municipal elected positions.