Interview with Carl Stokes

What was it like going out into the streets of Hough and Glenville, going out onto the Black west side during your campaign. Talk about your feelings of exhilaration. What was going on in the streets?


Well, the, the, uh, maybe the most poignant little, uh, vignette was when we were in a motorcade coming down, uh, East 55th Street and, uh, my wife, Shirley, and I were sitting on the back seat of the convertible. And a little Black kid that was maybe eight years old probably, came up to us as we were stopped at a traffic signal and he said, "Are you Carl Stokes?" And I, I said, "Yes." And he just gave a little leap in the air and ran down the street, clapping his hands saying, "He's colored. He's colored. He's colored. He's colored." I thought that sort of caught the kind of thing that was coming since pride and, and the historical aspect of the moment, uh, that, uh, that I felt as I went through the Black areas of the city of Cleveland**. Also very sobering, I might say to you, because so many of the people were expressing in different kinds of ways about the confidence that they had, both that I would win and that when I won that I'd be able to correct all the wrongs and the problems that beset them. And, and, uh, when you realize that people have that sort of feeling about you, that you're s- going to be some sort of savior from their dilemma, it's very sobering because it imposes a great responsibility upon you. And I felt that quite keenly through that period.