The election of Barack Obama to the office of President of the United States was a historical landmark, but one that must never overshadow other pivotal moments that helped lead to his victory. In November 1967, Carl Stokes was narrowly elected mayor of the city of Cleveland. Stokes was the first black man to be elected mayor of a major U.S. city—Cleveland was the 10th largest city in the country at the time. Stokes only won by a very small percentage, but his victory was monumental none the less, as it helped to open the door for other blacks in major elected office. Stokes served as mayor from 1967 until 1971, and followed up with an impressive career that included law, broadcast journalism and a stint as U.S. ambassador.


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