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Former U.S. Rep. Louis B. Stokes, Ohio’s first Black congressman and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, died at the age of 90, his family announced Wednesday.

Stokes passed away peacefully at his home Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. His wife, Jay Stokes, was at his side. Just a month earlier, Stokes announced his diagnosis of brain and lung cancer.

The former U.S. Representative was elected to Congress in 1968 and served 30 years in the House. In a statement, CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield called Stokes the “embodiment of a public servant.”

“Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our founding members Louis B. Stokes,” Butterfield wrote.

“As the first African American to represent Ohio, Mr. Stokes was a pioneer in public service, breaking numerous barriers for African Americans and for all people of color during his extraordinary career as an elected official on the local, state and federal levels. Mr. Stokes was first elected to Congress in 1969 and served 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the first African American to serve on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and was the founder of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, which remains active today in protecting health equity and reducing health disparities in communities across the country.

“Mr. Stokes was the embodiment of a public servant. He selflessly used his elected positions to increase opportunities for millions of African Americans. We will miss our dear friend, Louis B. Stokes, but the impact of his legacy of service and commitment to his constituents and the African American community will be remembered for generations to come.”


Watch Roland Martin and NewsOne Now’s coverage of the passing of former Congressman Louis Stokes in the video clip below.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.


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Louis B. Stokes, Ohio’s First Black Congressman & Congressional Black Caucus Founding Member, Dead At 90  was originally published on