NABJ Mourns the Loss of Founder and Celebrated Journalist Chuck Stone
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Posted by: Scott Berry
NABJ Mourns the Loss of
Founder and Celebrated Journalist Chuck Stone
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 6,
2014) -The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
mourns the passing of veteran journalist and educator Charles Sumner
"Chuck" Stone Jr., who was a founder of NABJ and the association's
first national president.
Stone died Sunday at the age of
illustrious and groundbreaking 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." Founder
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.
"We have 44 founders, but many of them credit Chuck Stone with being the
driving force behind NABJ," association President Bob Butler said. "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."
As an industry leader, Founder
Stone served as president of what was then the Association of Black Journalists
in Philadelphia, now known as the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists,
a forerunner for NABJ. As NABJ’s founding president, he helped develop a
national presence for the organization, exemplified by well-reasoned yet
impassioned advocacy and strategic initiatives which were bolstered by the
determination of members to work diligently in newsrooms reporting the news
with a devotion to accuracy, ethics, fairness and quality storytelling.
was born on July 21, 1924. After service as a Tuskegee Airman in World War II,
he graduated from Wesleyan University in 1948 and earned a master’s degree from
the University of Chicago. He used his vast knowledge and experience in
the classroom teaching in most of the cities where he worked and lived. While
in Chicago, he taught at Columbia College. In Philadelphia, he taught at Bryn
Mawr College and the University of Delaware. After leaving daily journalism, he
served as the Walter Spearman Professor in University of North Carolina-Chapel
Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 1999 to 2005.
“I recall Chuck from our founding meeting and
before that during the early days of the Philadelphia ABJ (Association of Black
Journalists), which was instrumental in the formation of NABJ,” said NABJ
Founder and Washington Post reporter
Joe Davidson. “He was always on point during those eventful meetings and was
absolutely essential to the birth of what has become an amazing organization.
Later, some of us had differences with Chuck, but there is no doubt about the
vital role he played in NABJ. He was a giant in many ways. His death makes
me very sad, yet appreciate him all the more. NABJ owes him a lot.”
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.”
Founder Allison Davis said Stone was the key to NABJ’s longevity.
organizations have start and stops for whatever reason,” said Davis, the
organization’s first parliamentarian. “NABJ has been able to sustain itself
because we had a great foundation. Despite our lack of email, we had Chuck's
mighty pen. I must have received at least three letters a week from Chuck with instructions."
Founder Stone is survived by children Krishna
Stone, Allegra Stone and Charles S. Stone III; grandchild Parade Stone; and
sisters Madalene Seymour and Irene Gordy.
His family asks that donations be made to the Chuck Stone Citizen of the World
fund at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication Foundation of North
Carolina Inc. at UNC-Chapel Hill.
NABJ extends its sincerest condolences to Founder Stone's family, and the
countless friends within the journalism community who he leaves behind.
NABJ will provide on update on service information and where condolences can be
sent, as soon as those details are provided.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the
largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides
career development as well as educational and other support to its members
worldwide. For more information, please visit www.nabj.org.