Chuck Stone, 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 of congestive heart failure 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, Mr. 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 in surrendering to him to avoid becoming victims of police brutality. From 1972 to 1991 he served the newspaper as a senior editor and a columnist.
Outspoken and at ease in many worlds, Mr. 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. He joined the university in 1991 and taught for 14 years.
Bespectacled and bow-tied, he appeared on television talk shows and was one of the first hosts of Black Perspectives on the News, a PBS show. He also was an author of books for adults and children.