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Chuck Stone was born on this date in 1924. He was a Black newspaper editor, columnist, and professor of journalism, and activist.
Charles Sumner Stone was from St. Louis, Missouri. His father was business manager for Annie Malone's Poro College, and his mother, Madeline M. Chafin Stone, was the payroll officer for the Hartford Board of Education. Raised in Hartford, Connecticut, Stone attended Arsenal Elementary School and Bernard Junior High School, and he graduated with honors from Hartford Public High School as "class prophet" in 1942.
Drafted in 1943, Stone was a former Tuskegee Airman commissioned as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Leaving the army in 1945, Stone earned his A.B. degree from Wesleyan University in 1948 and his M.A. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1951. As an editor at Harlem's New York Age, the Baltimore Afro-American, and the Chicago Daily Defender, he was strongly associated with the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. He also served three years as a special assistant and speechwriter for Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., while Powell chaired the House Education and Labor Committee.
A journalist for more than 25 years, Stone has written more than 4,000 newspaper columns, magazine stories, and scholarly essays. He is the author of three books, "Tell It Like It Is" (1968), "Black Political Power in America" (1968), and a novel, "King Strut" (1970). He was the first president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ, 1975-1977). From 1972-1991, Stone was a columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News.
As a political columnist and senior editor, his ongoing public battles with Mayors Frank Rizzo and Wilson Goode and with U.S. Rep. Bill Gray made Stone the best-known journalist in Philadelphia. He was an iconoclastic, controversial, exciting urban newsman, in the mode of Studs Terkel, Jimmy Breslin, and Mike Royko. Because of his reputation for integrity, he became a trusted middleman between Philadelphia police and murder suspects, more than 75 of whom "surrendered" to Stone rather than to the authorities.
In August 2004, NABJ inducted him into its Hall of Fame. He taught journalism at the University of Delaware for several years. He then became Walter Spearman Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he retired in 2005.
Stone was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha. Stone and his wife, Louise, have three children, Krishna, Allegra, and Charles, III. In 2007, Stone was honored with the Helen Thomas Lifetime achievement award from The Society of Professional Journalists.
Chuck Stone died on April 6, 2014, at the age of 89. He is considered to be the "driving force behind NABJ", and the key to the organization's longevity. The Chuck Stone Papers are housed in the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as part of the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University.
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