Terry v. Ohio (1968) / Louis is elected to congress

Terry v. Ohio (1968)
Louis Stokes Scrapbook Collection WRHS Library

Supreme Court Hears City Stop-Frisk Case (pdf)

In 1963, Cleveland Police detective Martin McFadden, a 62-year-old experienced officer at the end of a long and distinguished career, observed three men behaving suspiciously in downtown Cleveland. Acting on instinct and without a warrant he stopped the three men, John W. Terry, Richard Chilton and Carl Katz. During a “pat down” he discovered hidden guns on Terry and Chilton. Both were arrested and convicted for carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Terry’s conviction was appealed on the basis that McFadden’s actions constituted illegal search and seizure, a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Louis Stokes served as Terry’s attorney and with support from the American Civil Liberties Union, argued the case before the United States Supreme Court in December 1967. The court rendered its opinion in June 1968. In an eight to one decision the court ruled that Detective McFadden’s actions were not in violation of the Fourth Amendment. That decision has become a precedent in American legal history, one which has set standards for reasonable search and seizure.

For more information on Terry v. Ohio visit
Oyez Supreme Court Media Project Terry v. Ohio

Redistricting and the Election of 1968
Lou Interveiw- Redistricting
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A lawsuit contesting the division based on the 1960 census eventually worked its way to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that the districts violated guidelines it had previously set for redistricting. The Ohio State legislature was obligated to reset the boundaries. Carl Stokes, while serving in the Ohio Legislature, was involved in this redistricting. The resulting new 21st Congressional District held a majority of African Americans. The 1968 election was the first one to be held with the new district.
Louis is elected to congress
Lou Stokes interview- Pioneers
Lou Stokes interview-
Rep. Louis Stokes, Rep. Ronald Dellums, unknown, Sen. Walter Mondale, and Mrs. Joan Mondale; no date, Louis Stokes Personal Collection
streaming video- First Day in Congress
(Louis Stokes loan)

Louis Stokes’ Republican opponent in the general election was Charles P. Lucas, also African American and a former member of the Cleveland Transit System board. Stokes handily won the election by a nearly three to one margin becoming the first African American elected to the United States House of Representatives from Ohio.

Louis Stokes arrived in Washington in 1969, as a freshman Congressman, one of thirteen African Americans in that session. He was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus. Stokes served as the second chairman of the CBC in 1972. His legislative work spanned many areas, with special interests in health care and the medical industry, NASA, and higher educational opportunities for minorities in engineering and the sciences.

For additional information, visit United States House of Representatives Biography of Congressman Stokes