Louis Stokes was a giant in Ohio politics and one of the most significant figures in the U.S. Congress in recent times. When he arrived in the House of Representatives as a freshman in 1969, there were only six African Americans serving. By the time he retired thirty years later, he had chaired the House Special Committee on the Kennedy and King assassinations, the House Ethics Committee during Abscam, and the House Intelligence Committee during Iran-Contra; he was also a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Prior to Louis Stokes’s tenure in Congress he served for many years as a criminal defense lawyer and chairman of the Cleveland NAACP Legal Redress Committee. Among the Supreme Court Cases he argued, the Terry “Stop and Frisk” case is regarded as one of the twenty-five most significant cases in the court’s history. The Gentleman from Ohio chronicles this and other momentous events in the life and legacy of Ohio’s first black representative—a man who, whether in law or politics, continually fought for the principles he believed in and helped lead the way for African Americans in the world of mainstream American politics.