This year the City of Cleveland has a full schedule of events to celebrate Black History Month, February 2017. Many of them are taking place right here in City Hall’s Rotunda, including the Opening Ceremony Luncheon – A Salute to Hometown Heroes – which was held on February 1st.
The City’s Black History Month Flag Raising ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 4 on the steps of City Hall. A full list of City of Cleveland, Black History Month events here.
Mayor Frank G. Jackson recently participated in the Stokes Commemoration Event, “In Their Footsteps.” This event is one in a year-long series celebrating the life and legacy of two of Cleveland’s Hometown Heroes, Carl and Louis Stokes. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Carl B. Stokes becoming the 51st Mayor of the City of Cleveland.
As Cleveland’s 51st mayor, the Honorable Carl B. Stokes changed the course of the city’s history. His achievement not only set a standard for elections in major metropolitan communities but also established an agenda to meet the needs of Cleveland residents regardless of their racial and ethnic background. He was mayor for all of Cleveland, and during his two terms in office from 1967-1971, he accomplished much that serves the city steadfastly even today.
In reflection of Carl Stokes’ success, Mayor Jackson told the audience, “…Never forget where you come from and always go back home to remind yourself of what you’re supposed to be doing…” He explained that in his early years, there was a limited pathway for those who came out of the Central neighborhood, where African Americans lived. And that with the Civil Rights movement and the contributions of many African Americans, that pathway became broader and more choices became available. He said, “Me and almost all other African American elected officials and even females, would not be here today if it wasn’t for Mayor Stokes and the struggles he went through.”
Mayor Jackson’s work has followed in the footsteps of Carl Stokes. He states, “A great city will be measured by the condition and well-being of its people, in particular, the least of us – not in terms of welfare and charity, but whether everyone is able to participate in the prosperity and quality of life that we create as a community.”
While we at the City of Cleveland celebrate the achievements of all members of our community daily, Black History Month allows us all to reflect on the important contributions of African Americans throughout history and beyond, especially here in Cleveland.
More information regarding the Stokes’ commemoration can be found at stokes50cle.com.