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Former Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes Dies

CLEVELAND (AllPolitics, April 3) -- Carl Stokes, the first African-American elected mayor of a major American city, died early today from cancer.

Stokes, 68, had served as U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles Islands, but took a medical leave of absence last June when he learned he had cancer of the esophagus.

[Stokes' quote]

A two-term mayor of Cleveland's mayor, he was first elected in November 1967. Before that, Stokes had served in the state legislature, where he was the first black Democrat ever elected.

Stokes wrote in his autobiography "Promises of Power" that a July 1968 shootout between police and a group of black men in Cleveland's Glenville district hurt his attempts to pull the city together. Nine people were killed -- six African-American civilians and three white police officers.

"The aftermath of that night was to haunt and color every aspect of my administration the next three years," Stokes wrote. "Glenville killed much of my public support and gave nonsupporters a chance to emerge from the woodwork."

Between 1972 and 1980, Stokes was an anchorman for WNBC-TV in New York, and later he was elected a municipal court judge in Cleveland. President Bill Clinton appointed him as ambassador to the Seychelles in 1994.

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