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Paul Stewart

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Information about Paul Stewart

Profile image of Paul Stewart

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Curator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Spinach, Cornbread
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Honolulu, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Age Is Just A Number And It Is Just A Matter Of Time. If You Don't Mind, It Doesn't Matter.

Birthplace

Born:
12/18/1925
Birth Location:
Clinton, Iowa

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Curator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Spinach, Cornbread
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Honolulu, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Age Is Just A Number And It Is Just A Matter Of Time. If You Don't Mind, It Doesn't Matter.

Birthplace

Born:
12/18/1925
Birth Location:
Clinton
See how Paul Stewart is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Curator Paul Wilbur Stewart was born on December 18, 1925 in Clinton, Iowa to Eugene Joseph Stewart and Martha L. Moor Stewart. His father was in the trucking business, and during the Great Depression, he owned a trucking company. Stewart’s family was one of the few Black families to live in a predominately white area at that time. After graduating from high school, Stewart joined the U.S. Navy and earned the rank of seaman first class. After he served in the Navy, he moved to Evanston, Illinois with his brother, Eugene. He took night classes at Roosevelt University while working as a mail sorter at the post office. However, he did not receive a degree from Roosevelt because he dropped out in order to assist his brother with his school expenses. Instead, he went on to get his barber’s license from Moler Barber College in 1947. After that, he spent more than a decade working as a barber in Illinois, Wisconsin and New York.

In the early 1960s, Stewart’s interest in the involvement of Blacks in the West peaked after visiting a relative in Denver. Stewart made a commitment to exposing the world to the prominence of Black cowboys in the American West. In 1971, Stewart started a collection in an old Denver saloon. His collection consisted of more than 35,000 items, including personal artifacts, photographs, clothing, paintings, letters, legal documents, newspapers, and oral histories. However, with the onset of the downtown urban renewal, he was forced to find another location. He housed the “Paul Stewart Collection” in Denver's Clayton College for almost ten years. During the time it was at the college, it had become incorporated and had a board of directors.

The museum’s prominence grew, so once again, the location needed to be adjusted. In the mid-1980s, Stewart packed up his museum and moved it to a larger, more convenient location in Denver's Five Points historical district, a predominantly Black neighborhood in downtown Denver. During the growth of his museum, in 1986, Stewart married gospel artist Johnnie Mae Davis.

In the early 1990s, the collection was moved to another location in Five Points. Today, the museum is open five days a week. More than 5,000 visitors come to the museum every year. The Black American West Museum and Heritage Center also offers educational activities and programs, tours and other special events. Over the years, Stewart also served as a member of the Historical Records Advisory Board for Colorado and has taught at Metropolitan State College in Denver.

Stewart was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2008.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Stewart's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart describes his father's career, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart describes his father's career, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart talks about how his paternal grandparents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart talks about his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart remembers his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart describes his paternal great-grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paul Stewart remembers his cousin, Grant Dozier
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart talks about his paternal great-grandmother's first husband
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers his cousin, Duke Slater
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about his cousin, Roland Hayes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers his cousin, Earl Mann
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes his mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart describes his mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers childhood playmates
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart describes his siblings
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers his daily activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes his social life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart talks about his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart remembers his decision to pursue his education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart remembers his father's side businesses, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers his father's side business, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about his early religious experiences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers lessons from his father about business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes his early career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart remembers being drafted into the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart remembers his introduction to southern segregation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart recalls his deployment to the Marshall Islands
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart recalls U.S. Navy riots in Hawaii
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart remembers moving to Illinois and New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers the Hampton Naval Glee Club
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart recalls the end of World War II
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart remembers moving to New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart recalls a robbery attempt in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart remembers working in New York City
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart recalls the nightlife in New York City's Harlem neighborhood
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers performing as a trumpeter in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about his barbershops in Illinois and Wisconsin
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart recalls his decision to move to Denver, Colorado
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes the Owl Club of Denver
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart remembers meeting an African American cowboy for the first time
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart lists the venues that displayed his black cowboy archive
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart recalls the original location of the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver, Colorado
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart describes the history of Dr. Justina Ford
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about Walter Jackson's buffalo coat
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart talks about the Younger family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart shares the legends of Mary Fields
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart describes the exhibits at the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart talks about the collection at the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart describes the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver, Colorado
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart talks about Madame C.J. Walker
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart talks about the African American figures from the history of Denver, Colorado
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart describes his family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart talks about the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart talks about Clara Brown
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Paul Stewart describes Barney Ford and John Keganell
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart narrates his photographs