George Pheldon Stewart

George Pheldon Stewart
(3/13/1874 – 8/28/1924)

George P. Stewart, founder of the longest-running Black newspaper in Indiana, was born in Vincennes on March 13, 1874 to William and Josephine Stewart. Even as a school student, Stewart began to dream. It was his desire to publish a newspaper, one too big for the town of Vincennes. Stewart moved to Indianapolis in 1894 and joined forces with William H. Porter to publish the Indianapolis Recorder in 1897.

Two years later, Porter sold his share of the business to Stewart for $300. The paper was described as: “A Negro Newspaper Devoted to the Best Interests of the Colored People of Indiana.” The Indianapolis Recorder distinguished itself by giving less space to issues and figures of national prominence than its competitors, leaving more space to devote to local news and personalities. It has long outlasted any other paper of its kind in the state.

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At the same time Stewart was building his newspaper, he also started building a family. He married Francis Caldwell, a Louisville native, on September 28, 1898. They resided at 1138 Fayette Street, not far from the offices of the paper at 518-520 Indiana Avenue. One son, Marcus, became the longtime editor and publisher of the Indianapolis Recorder when George died in 1924 and daughter Joyce continued as its business manager. The paper remained in the family’s control until 1988. In 1991, it was purchased by local entrepreneur William G. Mays, who is also buried at Crown Hill.

Stewart was a member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and other business, political, and fraternal organizations. Many of them — such as the Colored Republican Committee, the Indiana Association of Colored Men, and the Indiana Negro Welfare League — had ties to the Republican Party, which he supported both in and beyond the pages of the Indianapolis Recorder.

Location: Section 74, Lot 383; GPS (39.8244042,-86.1710360)