CHAPEL HILL – Charles Sumner “Chuck” Stone, Jr., a former UNC-Chapel Hill journalism professor and co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, died Sunday. He was 89.Stone's career as a journalist began when he served as editor of the New York Age. Later he was the White House correspondent and editor of the Washington Afro-American.
He was ultimately named editor-in-chief of the Chicago Daily Defender. Also an author and commentator his books Tell It Like It Is, Black Political Power In America and King Strut led to national media appearances. From 1972 to 1991, Stone was a political columnist and senior editor for the Philadelphia Daily News. He also was the inaugural host of the PBS program "Black Perspectives on the News." Stone was nominated for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize multiple times. He later was inducted into NABJ's Hall of Fame, and was presented the Society of Professional Journalists' Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award.
After leaving daily journalism, he served as the Walter Spearman Professor in UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 1999 to 2005.
"We have 44 founders, but many of them credit Chuck Stone with being the driving force behind NABJ," association President Bob Butler said in a statement posted on the NABJ website. "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. Our members now excel in all segments of the news media as columnists, anchors, reporters, producers, photographers and, most importantly, managers. There is still a lack of diversity in newsroom management, but what does exist is because of Chuck and the other founders of NABJ."
According to a tribute essay published 15 years ago in NABJ’s “Committed to the Cause: A Salute to NABJ’s Presidents,” Stone was described as “superbly suited to be the first leader of an organization seeking to not only change the way the media would tell Black America's story, but who was going to tell it.”
Over his career, Stone received six honorary doctorates and multiple awards, including the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award, the National Association of Black Journalists' Lifetime Achievement Award and The Freedom Forum's Al Neuharth Free Spirit Award.
Stone is survived by his children Krishna Stone, Allegra Stone, and Charles S. Stone III; grandchild Parade Stone and by his sisters Madalene Seymour and Irene Gordy.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chuck Stone Citizen of the World fund at the UNC School of Journalism or the Mass Communication Foundation of North Carolina, Inc.