Finding aid for the MS 5433 George Forbes Papers, Series II


Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: George Forbes
Title: MS 5433 George Forbes Papers, Series II
Dates: 1945-2014
Extent: 28.01 linear feet (31 containers, including one oversized container and one oversized folder)
Abstract: George L. Forbes (b. 1931) was arguably the most powerful man in Cleveland politics during the 1970s and 1980s. His position as the President of Cleveland City Council from 1974-1989 was crucial in the relationships he formed with mayors Dennis Kucinich and George Voinovich which were sometimes contentious. He also used this prominent position to promote civil rights and minority-owned businesses. Forbes was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1931, coming to the Cleveland area in the 1950s to earn his degrees from Baldwin Wallace College in 1957 and the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1961. A lawyer by profession, Forbes was admitted to both the Ohio and Federal Bars in 1962. In 1963 he was elected to Cleveland City Council, where he served for 27 years. He assisted Carl B. Stokes in his mayoral runs, helped to establish the 21st District Congressional Caucus to improve race relations within the Democratic party, and formed the first African-American law firm in Cleveland. He was also involved in a number of civic organizations, including the Cleveland Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he served as President from 1992-2012, The Urban League, The Council of Economic Opportunity, the Businessmen's Interracial Committee on Community Affairs, the John Harlan Law Club, and the National Association of Defense Lawyers for Criminal Cases. He was acquitted of bribery, extortion, and theft in office in 1979, has plead guilty to ethics violations in dealing with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation in 2007, and was sanctioned by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2008, which put his law license in jeopardy. During his career he has advocated for the poor and minority groups. He has worked against racial discrimination within a number of organizations, including the Regional Transit Authority and the Cleveland Police Force, created a mandate that a minimum percentage of construction work within the city be done by minority contractors/workers, and battled to improve city schools. The collection consists of awards, certificates, correspondence, financial records, legal documents, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, photographs, posters, research materials, reports, speeches, survey, and audiovisual recordings.
MS Number MS 5433
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English