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Each of the 34 courses available can be enrolled in individually, or in packages.  Each course is an approximately 1-hour session that consists of the opportunity for the students to interact with the associated artifacts, and a discussion exercise tailored for your specific class in accordance with your teacher's curriculum/recommendations.  If the Course List below doesn’t fit your needs, we can work together to develop the presentation you desire – from control of the discussion topics to selection of items to be presented.

Edward Brooke, Carl Stokes and Black Politics, 1955-1975

In addition to the achievements of Shirley Chisholm, there were other Black politicians that emerged to carry the torch from men like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; here in this collection we have signed documents from two such men – Edward Brooke, first Black U.S. Senator in the 20th Century, and Carl Stokes, the first Black man to be elected mayor of a major U.S. city.


Artifacts: Signed letters from Edward Brooke and Carl Stokes. with corresponding envelopes

Letter Signed by Carl Stokes as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, 1968 - When he took office on January 1, 1968, Carl Burston Stokes became the first elected African-American to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city, deating the grandson of former President Howard Taft, Seth Taft. At the time of his victory, Cleveland was one of the 10 largest cities in the United States, making his victory all the more remarkable.  He was not the first African-American to serve as mayor (Robert C. Henry was alected mayor of Springfield, Ohio two years earlier in 1966; Richard G. Hatcher was elected mayor of Gary, Indiana in the same year as Stokes but took office later in 1968; Walter Washington served as mayor of Washington, D.C. from 1967 to 1974, but was appointed to the position by President Lyndon B. Johnson) but Stokes was the first African-American elected mayor of a major city to take office.  That said, Stokes was not alone in Ohio politics - his brother Louis Stokes was also a politician, elected to represent Cleveland in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The letter picutred above signed by Carl Stokes, comes from 1968 - his first year in office.

Letter Signed by Edward W. Brooke, U.S. Senator, May 1971 - Edward W. Brooke, a Replublican, became the first African-American elected to tthe U.S. Senate by popular vote.  Prior to his election, the only other two African-Americans to serve in the Senate, Hiram Revels and Blanche K. Bruce, had been appointed to their Senate seats by the Mississippi State Legislature during the era of Black Reconstruction nearly 100 years earlier.  A graduate of Howard University in 1941, Brooke was also a former member of the U.S. Army, having attained an officer's commission while serving during World War II. After his first attempts at political office were unsuccessful, he was appointed to chair Boston's Finance Committee.  After working to uncover political corruption while in that position, Brooke was elected Massachusetts Attorney General in 1962, becoming the first African-American State Attorney General in the country.  From there, he successfully defeated Democrat and former Governor Endicott Peabody to win his Senate seat for the first of two terms.  In office, he attempted to distance himself from what he considered radical Black leaders like Stokely Carmichael, and instead fought against discrimination in housing, co-authoring the 1968 Fair Housing Act with Walter Mondale.  He was eventually awarded the Springarn Medal by the NAACP for his efforts fighting for fair and equal public housing.  The letter signed by Brooke above is from 1971, towards the end of his first term.

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