James (“Jimmy”) Edward Stewart was born in Plano, Texas on September 16, 1912, to laborer/minister Zena Thomas Stewart and Mary Magdeline Fegalee Stewart. Zena died of malaria in Oklahoma City in 1920, four years after he and his family moved there.

The main weapon of change in Stewart’s arsenal was the Oklahoma City NAACP, founded in 1913. Stewart became active in the NAACP in the 1930s and rose to become branch president of the Association in 1942 and eventually state president in 1942 and member of the national board in 1949. Stewart, Roscoe Dunjee, and Thurgood Marshall teamed up in 1946 to lead the campaign to desegregate the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. In 1961, with Stewart’s backing, Dr. A.L. Dowell filed the lawsuit which resulted in Federal Judge Luther Bohanan’s order to end racial segregation in the state’s primary and secondary school systems. Stewart’s cooperation with civil rights beacon Clara Luper in the 1960s and 1970s helped dismantle racial discrimination in public facilities and establishments across Oklahoma.

James E. (Jimmy) Stewart’s life was a reflection of his burning passion for equality. Rising from janitor to assistant to the vice president of one of Oklahoma’s largest utilities, he aggressively led the fight for equality in Oklahoma and the nation. Among his many great qualities were integrity and a passion for equality. As a national leader of the NAACP, he played a major role in developing local, state, and national civil rights policies. He headed the NAACP in Oklahoma City during tumultuous times of school desegregation and integration. Stewart negotiated huge gains for minorities in the Sooner State.

James E. "Jimmy" Stewart, Sr., was responsible for the first black Marine, a young man from Langston University a Alfred Masters to be recruited and sworn into the United States Marine Corps as the first Black Marine at one minuite after midnight June 1st 1942. Stewart himself eventually enlisted shortly after. Jimmy volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps and served with the first ever battalion of Black Marines in world war two. Today they are called the Montford Point Marines. There name comes from the base they trained at. Jimmy was discharged in 1945 with the rank; of Tech Sergeant and returned to Oklahoma City.

James E. Stewart, Sr.’s papers, pictures, videos, recording, letters, speeches, minutes of NAACP meetings of the thirties and forties, his personal accounts of national and community leaders, the history of the civil rights movement of Oklahoma are included in the Oklahoma Historical Society Archives.

Jimmy served on: Douglass High- -Langston University Athletic Association Board,  The Southern Regional NAACP Council Board at Atlanta,  The Negro Business League Board,  The Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County Community Action Board,  The Governor’s Committee on Human Relations,  The Oklahoma City Commission on Human Relations,  Okiahomans for Progress,      Honorary City Mayor Of Oklahoma City,  Oklahoma County Historical Society's Pathmaker Award,  The American Association Of Blacks In Energy James E Stewart Award,  Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma Committee on Church and Race,  The Charter Revision Committee for the City,  Chairman of the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority,  Chairman of the Oklahoma City Golf Commission Chairman,  The Eastside YMCA Board Chairman,  Council for Resocialization of Ex-Offenders,  Past President Villa Savoy Housing, INC.,  The Salvation Army Board,  Montford Point Marines Life Member,  NAACP Life Member,  The Oklahoma City Branch NAACP Executive Committee,  President Oklahoma City NAACP,  The First Chairman Of The National NAACP Energy Committee,  The National Board of NAACP,  The Coalition of Civic Leadership,  The Capitol-Med Center Historical Preservation Commission,  WICHITA NORTH HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI,  Langston University Alumni,  Langston Booster Club, and The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

Some of the honors or awards received through the years include City of Oklahoma City, The Grail Club. The Community Action Program. Oklahoma City Set, Inc., Phi Delta Kappa, YMCA Life Member, Sertoma Club, Region VI NAACP, The James E Stewart Industrial Center, The James E Stewart Golf Course and Driving Range, The Oklahoma Natural Gas James E Stewart Training Center, Afro-American Hall of Fame of Oklahoma, Inc., Oklahoma Hall of Fame Oklahoma, Journalism Hall of Fame, Montford Point Marine Association Hall of Fame, And many more awards and honors.

James “Jimmy” Edward Stewart died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on April 13, 1997. 



Montford Point Marine 1942 - 1945 James E Stewart Sr

  Mr & Mrs James E Stewart, Eunice Kennedy Shriver & Jacqueline Kennedy


Joseph Louis Barrow (May 13, 1914 – April 12, 1981), better known as Joe Louis,  with James E Stewart

Novelist Ralph Ellison center & James E Stewart Sr on his left. Ralph Published in 1952, Invisible Man explores the theme of man’s search for his identity and place in society, as seen from the perspective of an unnamed black man in the New York City of the 1930s

Oklahoma Hall of Fame Member James E Stewart Sr far right


 Mrs. Stewart & Thurgood Marshall





 President of VILLA SAVOY INC.





Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD


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