Pioneering Journalist Chuck Stone Dies

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  • CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Longtime journalist and educator Charles Sumner “Chuck” Stone Jr, one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalists, has died. He was 89.

    Allegra Stone said that her father died Sunday at an assisted living facility in Chapel Hill, N.C. He’d been a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina for 14 years starting in 1991. Many who helped launch the NABJ credited Stone as the driving force behind its founding, said the association’s current president Bob Butler.

    “Chuck chaired the first meeting and became the first president. He provided the rudder that steered NABJ at a time when being a member was not always easy. Some employers back then told members to choose between their jobs and NABJ,” Butler said in a news release.

    After serving as a Tuskegee Airman in World War II, Stone was a writer and editor at influential black publications in New York, Washington and Chicago through the early 1960s, using his writing to urge the Kennedy administration to advance the cause of civil rights. Subsequently, he served as an adviser to U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell of New York. His reputation grew after he was hired as the first black columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, where he worked as a columnist and editor from 1972 to 1991. He was known for being outspoken on discrimination, police brutality and racism.

    Despite the grave subject matter he tackled, he was a joy to be around in the newsroom, said novelist Pete Dexter, who worked alongside Stone as a columnist at the Daily News.

    “He was one of those people who makes you feel good just to bump into him when you came into the office because he was so happy where he was and doing what he did,” Dexter said.

    Dexter said Stone’s work resonated with the Daily News’ black readership in a time of racial strife in the city.

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