Mr Stokes has a long and distinguished career in business and community development, with degrees from Cornell University and the University of Chicago. He is currently Vice President with the 1696 Heritage Group. His past professional positions have included Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Mr Stokes has been an Advisor for Rhode Island with the National Trust for Historic Preservation along with serving on numerous regional and national historic preservation boards including Chairman of the Touro Synagogue Foundation, Vice President & Trustee of the Preservation Society for Newport County, and Newport Historical Society.

Mr Stokes is a frequent national, state and local lecturer in community & regional planning, historic preservation and interpretation with an expertise in early African and Jewish American history.  Mr Stokes frequently appears on national historical programs including C-SPAN, Fox News Legends & Lies, and Ted Talk. He has been the recipient of numerous local, state and national awards including the United State Small Business Administration – Rhode Island Small Business Advocate of the Year Award, American Sail Training Association Leadership Award, Rhode Island Black Heritage Society’s Fredrick Williamson Award Historic Preservation Award and along with his wife, is the recipient of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities.