Metropolis Council OKs artwork honoring native civil rights chief James Stewart

A colorful gate in the renovated clubhouse of the James E. Stewart Golf Course commemorates the man the course is named after and who ran the Oklahoma City chapter of the NAACP at the time of the youth chapter sit-ins organized by Clara Luper.

Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday approved a contract with Hoffner Design Studio for up to $ 24,000 to design, manufacture, and install the artwork.

James Stewart is a 9-hole course and the closest urban course to downtown is on Frederick Douglass Ave. 928. Located here is Metropolitan First Tee, the program that introduces hundreds of junior golfers to the game.

The artist's drawing shows the planned gate art on the James E. Stewart Golf Course.  (Drawing provided)

Who was james E Stewart?

Stewart was elected to the National Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1953, according to obituaries in The Oklahoman in 1997, when he died at the age of 84.

He served as president of the NAACP Oklahoma City office for 17 years.

His career included a stint as a banquet attendant at the Biltmore Hotel, service with the Marine Corps during World War II, and more than 20 years with Oklahoma Natural Gas, where he retired in 1977 as assistant to a vice president.

His weekly news column “Jimmy Says” appeared in Black Dispatch from 1939 onwards. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for his civic contributions and editorial work.

He contributed a collection of over 30 years of civil rights and black history material to the Ralph Ellison Library to create their Black Chronicles of History. He was also an Oklahoma City golf commissioner.

The golf course’s sculptural sliding gate is designed as a group of silhouettes representing the community, with Stewart assuming a leadership position.

When the gate opens, the figure of Stewart rotates, representing him in his role as a speaker and exhorting his communities to act.

Rodney Jordan, an Oklahoma State University architecture student whose extended family lives in the area, will work as an apprentice under artist Michael Hoffner as the project moves through design, engineering, manufacturing, and installation.

The project is funded by Oklahoma City’s 1% for Art program, which collects 1% of community works contracts for public art.

James E. Stewart in a photo taken in 1980 six years before he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

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