UNC Chapel Hill pays tribute to journalist Chuck Stone

Stone, a Tarheel professor and Tuskegee Airman, passed away last month.
May 5, 2014 12:06:49 PM PDT
At UNC Chapel Hill, they paid tribute Saturday to Chuck Stone, the legendary newsman who passed away last month after spending the latter years of his career as a Tarheel professor.

Stone's legacy is enshrined in his articles that changed history, in the organizations he helped build, and in the generations of journalists that he inspired.

At UNC's journalism school, speaker after speaker sang the praises of Chuck Stone, who finished a career in journalism at Carolina after an adult life that started in World War II when he was selected to join the Tuskegee Airmen, an elite group of black fighter pilots.

The superlatives kept on coming.

"Prestigious Tuskegee Airman, newsman, columnist, witness to history, institution builder, professor, father," said Susan King, the Dean of UNC's School of Journalism, as she described Stone.

Chuck Stone spent his retirement years in the Triangle. He made his mark at black newspapers in New York, DC, and Chicago before becoming the first black columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News.

His passionate articles about police brutality were part of the reason he often became part of the news he covered.

At Saturday's memorial, they played a clip from an old episode of North Carolina Voices in which the late William Friday asked Stone about a Philadelphia prison riot where armed prisoners refused to negotiate with anyone other than Chuck Stone.

Stone's work inspired legions of reporters, and he helped establish the National Association of Black Journalists.

But according to his son, named for his dad, Chuck Stone more than anything loved life, his family, and jazz-- and preached the importance of living to the fullest.

"That was the spark, or I call it, the infinite spark that I got from him, that fuels who I am and frankly the folks who are in this room," said Stone's son Charles.

The current president of the National Association of Black Journalists announced Saturday that the group's lifetime achievement award will be renamed this year in Stone's honor.

Stone passed away on April 6th. He was 89 years old.


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