Interview with Carl Stokes
QUESTION 20
LOUIS MASSIAH:

What was the national and local support that you received or offers that you received for your campaign in 1967?

CARL STOKES:

In 1967, the election which had caught the attention of, uh, people around the country because of the close race in 1965, uh, resulted in offers of aid and assistance anywhere from--

LOUIS MASSIAH:

Just stop for a second.



LOUIS MASSIAH:

Could you talk about the offers that you received, nationally and locally, to support your campaign. The coalitions that were forming, or that tried to form around your campaign, uh, in 1967.

CARL STOKES:

Well, in 1967, there were many people and groups around the country who wanted to be part of the Cleveland election, uh, most of which we had to refuse because of the fact we could not see that it would fit in with the way that we had organized and charted the course of the campaign here, balancing the White and Black factors. So where persons, for instance, such as Hubert Humphrey, who was the vice-president of United States at that time, and a long-time friend of mine, had wanted very much to, to come here, we felt that it would not be in our interest to have him here. The national civil rights leaders who wanted to come, we did not, what, who is that?




LOUIS MASSIAH:

...offered support in this campaign. Could you talk about that, could you talk about the coalition that came together and people that, that wanted to be part of your campaign and how you, how you looked at them?

CARL STOKES:

Because of our very close race in 1965, the eyes of the nation were focused on Cleveland in '67 with what seemed to be now to them a probable win here. And there were many people who wanted to be part of it, and they ranged anywhere from vice-president Hubert Humphrey who volunteered to come here or very charitably also said that, uh, he would understand, uh, if we didn't want him to come. He would either endorse me or oppose me, whichever one would help me. And we told him to do neither, but we did not let him come. Similarly, uh, the national civil rights leaders who recognized the great importance of this election to the, to the whole fight for freedom and equality had wanted to come here. We necessarily rejected them also because in the delicate Black/White balance we knew that, uh, anything representing the Black Power Movement would cause a detrimental political effort. There were a number of, of people who otherwise were involved in, in civil rights activities other than the, the organized groups as such who we di- who, uh, uh, volunteered help and whom we did we go out of the city and, and receive their financial aid and, and assistance. Ah, here in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, but we organized the campaign utilizing the local components of the persons that we did not use on the national level, first as organized labor members, NAACP or Urban League, uh, the, those who were within the Black Power Movement, uh, we didn't have a Black Panther organization here but we did have a Black Afroset. They were very much an integral part of the, uh, of the campaign, worked very closely with us. Most important I think of all of the components of the winning campaign here was the Black clergy. Ah, they, they came down out of their pulpit, made each of their churches a veritable political organization of itself, and provided the real winning thrust, I believe, to the whole campaign effort of 1967.