Lawyer Carolyn House Stewart was born on November 11, 1952 in Richland County, South Carolina. She earned her B.A. degree in history and social science education from the University of South Florida in 1974 and her J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina Law Center in 1977.
Stewart was hired as assistant litigation counsel for the Jim Walter Corporation in 1977. Working in Tampa, Florida, she was the first African American woman lawyer hired by the company. Stewart left the Jim Walter Corporation in 1980 to work as assistant state attorney in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, which served Hillsborough County, Florida. She was the first African American woman hired as assistant state attorney in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. Four years later, she was named assistant county attorney for the Hillsborough Office of the County Attorney in 1985. She held this position for two years before moving into private practice at Tampa’s Butler and Burnette law firm. In 1989, Stewart returned to the corporate sector as staff counsel for the Travelers Insurance Company. After five years with the company, Stewart returned to private practice in 1994, joining the Law Firm of Macfarlane Ferguson and McMullen. She specialized in civil litigation, casualty, and labor law cases, and was elevated as the first African American partner in 1997.
Initiated as an undergraduate in 1972, Stewart joined the Gamma Theta Omega Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. after beginning her legal career. In 1998, she was appointed international program committee chair. In 2002, she was elected international secretary, and in 2006, she was elected vice president. Stewart became the twenty-eighth international president in 2010. She adopted Global Leadership through Timeless Service as the theme of her administration and developed Emerging Young Leaders as her signature program. She completed her term as international president in 2014.
Stewart served on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners from 2006 to 2011 and the Heifer International board of directors from 2014 to 2017. She was also a founding board member of the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs. Stewart has been honored by numerous organizations including the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and the National Bar Association. Stewart is a legacy life member of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).
Stewart and her husband, Delano Stewart, have one daughter together, Delsha. Stewart also has five stepdaughters.
Carolyn House Stewart was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 10, 2018.