Louis Stokes was a trail blazer, an icon and a friend of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He was Ohio's first African American U.S. Congressman, serving 15 terms, headed the Congressional Black Caucus and was the first African American on the House Appropriations Committee. A bill cosponsored by Stokes and then Representative Rob Portman to preserve Underground Railroad sites in 1998 paved the way for the founding and development of our institution on the banks of the Ohio River. We honor Stokes' legacy, thank him for his public service and for representing and advocating for equal opportunity for all Americans.