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Chuck Stone, in the Philadelphia Daily News newsroom, where he served as a senior editor and columnist from 1972 to 1991.

Associated Press file, 1984,

Obituary: American journalist Charles S. Stone Jr.

  • Article by: Martin Weil
  • Washington Post
  • April 7, 2014 - 9:37 PM

Charles S. “Chuck” Stone Jr., a prominent and pioneering American journalist who touched and shaped many lives as a big-city newspaper columnist, university professor and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, died Sunday at an assisted living facility in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 89.

Over a long and groundbreaking career at the highest levels of journalism and public debate, Stone was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, an aide to Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, D-N.Y., and a man so trusted by the readers of his Philadelphia Daily News column that dozens of homicide suspects insisted on surrendering to him.

Outspoken and at ease in many worlds, Stone befriended both Malcolm X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was editor of three of the best-known newspapers published in the nation’s black communities, and he was admired by his students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he was retired.

Stone, a man who stood for integration and who was committed to diversity, once told an inquisitive interviewer that his favorite color was orange. His vision of diversity, particularly in journalism, included women and all underrepresented ethnic groups.

He covered the White House for the Washington Afro-American, for which he also served as editor, worked for aid agencies in India and Egypt, and was an author of books for adults and children.

For adults, he published “Tell it Like it Is,” a compilation of his columns, “Black Political Power in America,” and a novel, “King Strut.” For children, he wrote “Squizzy the Black Squirrel,” designed to be entertaining and instructive.

He was a man of strong feelings and wry wit. In discussing his World War II assignment to teach aerial navigation to the other members of the Tuskegee Airmen, he recalled, “They always sent me up to fly with the hard-to-learn ­students.”

Bespectacled and bow-tied, he appeared on TV talk shows and was one of the first hosts of “Black Perspectives on the News,” a PBS show.

Charles Sumner Stone Jr. was born July 21, 1924, in St. Louis and raised in Hartford, Conn., where he attended public schools. After the war, he received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago.

 

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