Applications are invited for participation in the themed seminar titled “Carl B. Stokes and Black Political Power in Cleveland: A 50-Year Retrospective” to be held July 10-14, 2017 on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. The seminar is sponsored jointly by the Cleveland Humanities Collaborative and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities in concert with Tri-C’s year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Carl Stokes’ election as mayor of Cleveland.
In 1967, Carl B. Stokes won Cleveland’s mayoral election to become the first African American mayor of a major American city. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of this historic event, and with five decades worth of hindsight, we are in a prime position to evaluate Mayor Stokes’ rise and legacy as our city moves toward the future’s uncertain promise. By focusing in on “Cleveland: NOW!,” Stokes’ multipronged centerpiece initiative, we can better understand the challenges the city faced at that moment five decades ago, while gaining valuable insights into Cleveland’s most pressing contemporary issues.
As the son of Southern migrants, Stokes’ life parallels one of the most important developments in Cleveland’s twentieth-century history. Understanding why African Americans began migrating to Northern cities in search of a better life, the conditions they met upon arrival, and their early struggles to accrue political power is the first step in explaining Stokes’ 1967 victory. Stokes took power at a time when Cleveland’s population had already started on a downward trend, its industrial base was eroding, and race relations were increasingly tense. In retrospect, Cleveland seems like a bellwether for a variety of trends that would soon come to characterize other cities in the surrounding region and country as a whole.
As a public-private partnership that aimed to raise $1.5 billion within a decade to tackle the Cleveland’s various health, community, and economic needs, Cleveland: NOW! at the outset inspired hope that urban decline could be reversed. It also represented an attempt to balance Cleveland’s traditional business elite-led politics and emerging forms of grassroots Black political power. The initiative was hobbled by the outbreak of rioting in the Glenville neighborhood in July 1968. This seminar will explore Cleveland: NOW!’s scope and specifics and how Stokes and other political leaders regarded the problems facing the city at that time, and examine how Cleveland’s prospects and political leadership have evolved over the subsequent decades. Seminar participants will prepare a short white paper that provides a humanities context to the October Stokes Symposium.
Moderated by Dr. Todd Michney, CWRU alumnus, Visiting Professor of History at Georgia Tech, and author of the recently released Surrogate Suburbs; Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland, 1900-1980, this seminar is designed to allow participants to shape a collective path of inquiry. Typical seminar meetings include close readings of selected texts and lively discussion. The seminar enhances teaching and research, as well as professional development.
This seminar is presented as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the election of Mayor Carl Stokes and the career of Congressman Louis Stokes, a community-wide, yearlong event. For more information see http://www.stokes50cle.com.
In order to be compensated, seminar participants must attend and participate in each of the daily meetings (approximately 4-5 hours), time to be determined by participants. Books and readings will be distributed in advance and participants are expected to complete readings prior to July 10.
All participants will be required to submit an evaluation of their seminar experience upon completion.
To apply, please download and fill out the application cover sheet and include it in the application as described below;
In addition to this cover sheet, complete applications must include:
Applications must be submitted electronically as a single PDF to: firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received by May 12, 2017.
All applications will be reviewed by a committee; please be aware that there are a limited number of available spaces in the seminar.