February 28, 2011

Birth of Charles Carroll Stewart

Charles Carroll Stewart was born in Annapolis, Maryland on February 28, 1859. He moved with his family to Washington shortly after. As a teenager, he prepared for a career as a dentist before accepting a job surveying what would become the Panama canal. When he returned from South America, he apprenticed as a ship-builder. Still not satisfied, he traveled throughout the United States and Europe, and in parts of Africa and Asia. In 1882, he settled down as a journalist.

He worked for a time for the Washington Bee in D.C. before moving on to the Baltimore Vindicator. His role included not only being a writer but also a manager and publisher.

Stewart's major contribution to the world of 19th-century journalism came in 1884. That year, he organized a national news bureau especially for African American journalists. Their mission, in part, was "to promote in every legitimate way the best interests of our race through the medium of the press." He served as the group's president for three terms. His writings were published throughout the country, as far-flung as Arkansas, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. In Indianapolis, he became editor of the Indianapolis World.

His prolific journalism resulted in his invitation to the dedication exercises of the Washington Monument in 1885. He was the only black journalist represented; one account says he met President Chester A. Arthur. He later became the second vice president of the "Associated Correspondents of Race Newspapers.

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