North Carolina Newspapers

    Oct('bcr 1, IWI
Cover Story
Journalist Brings Bow Tie, Wisdom To UNC
By Keisha Brown ]
Ink Staff Writer
Wake up! “Think big, think
black and think like a child of God,”
says Chuck Slone.
Just who is this Stone fellow?
Maybe you’ve noticed his trade
mark bow tie and crew cut. Maybe
you’ve noticcd a new face at the
School of Journalism or around
campus. Maybe you’ve seen a tan-
skinned African-American with a
peculiar gait who’s always wearing
a smile. That’s him.
He’s the one and only Charles
Sumner Stone, the University’s first
black chaired professor, and a true
brother to boot. The noted journal
ist has earned the respect of black
leaders and accused desperados
Stone, 67, came to UNC to fill
the Walter Spearman professorship.
A senior editor and columnist for
the Philadelphia Daily News, he
was selected for the teaching posi
tion from a field of more than 80
applicants, including three I^ilitzer
Prize winners.
Slone mentioned that he did have
moderate reservations about mov
ing to the south because of its well-
known racism. The South’s racial
climate was a factor in his turning
down King’soffer to lead theSouth-
em Christian Leadership Confer
ence during the Civil Rights era, he
admitted. But his primary reason
for refusing the position seems
somewhat surprising in light of his
mild-mannered demeanor.
“I was not strong enough to be
non-violent.” he said.
Stone now realizes that racism
has become nationalized and “is no
longer regional.” Minorities face an
institutional racism, a kind of “sys
tematic exploitation,” Stone said.
But African-Americans face inter
nal suife as well, he added.
“1 am as concerned about black
self-desuijction as 1 am about ra
cism,” he said. “We’re not succeed
ing as a people if the brothers are
going around undermining unity.”
In addition to King, Stone asso
ciated with the peace advocate’s
ideological opposite, Malcolm X.
He was with Malcolm X one week
before the Black Mushm was slain,
and still has a picUire of the two of
them together. Slone said he heard
about the assassination while in
Chicago where he worked as a TV
“I was angry, but I was deeply
hurt,” he said. “I remember I cried
that day. He was such a beautiful
person. Malcolm and I were very
Stone gained national attention
in the late 1970s when criminal sus
pects on the run began tuming them
selves into him instead of the Phila
delphia police, who were notorious
for their abusive practices. Murder
suspects and others began surren
dering to Stone and he promised
them protection.
Apparently, law enforcement
officers complied because not one
of the accused persons later cited
police abuse after being taken into
until age 34.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to
do with my hfe,” he confessed. “So
I worked at a department store, I
went overseas with CARE (Coop
erative for American Remittance to
Everywhere), and I got married.”
Even while working at the
newspaper and leaching at the
University of Delaware, Stone
found time to study theology for
two years at a seminary. During the
1960s, he edited three influential
black newspapers: the New York
Age (1959-1960), the Washington
Afro-American (1960-1 %3) and the
Chicago Daily Defender (1963-
1964). He even did a stint with the
said there are two qualities distin
guishing the latter from the former:
grace and charm. He further noted
that Southerners tended to be
slightly more welcoming and hos
pitable than their Northern counter
“We’ve only been here a month
and half, and my wife, Louise, and
1 have been made to feel at home,”
Stone said.
In Philadelphia he was a panel
ist for “Inside Story” of WPVI-TV
and an English professor at the Uni
versity of Delaware. He commuted
between the two states three days a
When asked what he missed
Myron B. Pius/Bioct Ink
Noted journalist Chuck Stone has earned the respect of black leaders and accused desperados alike.
i custody. Seventy-five suspects have |
j surrendered to the police by way of i
Stone since 1977. I
I Stone is the renaissance man of ;
i old. In addition to his other accom- I
j plishments, he is a founding mem- !
bcr and first president of the Na- I
tional Association of Black Jour- i
I nalists. He served as a special assis- j
1 tant to Rep. Adam Clayton Powell I
of New York City, one of the first j
I black congressmen, and he was the ‘
Education Research Specialist for i
Rep. N.C. Nix Sr. of Philadelphia. S
^ Stone has penned three books '
I and co-authored four more, but he
didn’t begin his journalism career i
military as an air force navigator
during WWII.
S tone ’ s educational experiences
are as many and varied as his life
experiences. He received his M.A.
in sociology from the University of
Chicago in 1951 and his A.B. in
political science and economics
from Weselyn University in 1948.
He also attended the University of
Connecticut Law School for a year
(1945-55). Now, he teaches an in
troductory newswriting class and a
censorship class in UNC’s journal
ism school.
In comparing the North and
South, the Hartford, Conn. native
most about the City of Brotherly
Love, Stone replied, “I miss my
friends and some of the excitement,
but I don’t miss the heavy work
“I don’t want to succeed, I want
to excel,” was, and is, one of Stone’s
mottos, and his host of honors and
awards bespeak the wisdom of this
philosophy. Some of them are: an
Honorary Doctor of Letters from
Rider College, NJ (1985); an Hon
orary Doctor of Humanities from
Wilberforce University, Ohio
(1977), the 1990 Free Speech Award
from Temple University, and one
of 10 Outstanding Professor awards
from the University of Delaware.
Growing up, Stone said he
looked to his mother and father as
role models. The oldest of four
children and the only boy, he said
his teachers contributed greatly to
his development as well. Even to
day, he recalls many of them from
as far back as junior high school.
Stone gives his minister a great deal
of credit for shaping his life too.
Another influence in Stone’s is
the life of the man after whom he,
his father, and his son are named:
Charles Sumner. Sumner was a
famous Boston abolitionist. Har
vard graduate, and later a United
States senator who opposed and
fought against the fugitive slave
laws. A century later, Charles
Sumner Stone II is walking a simi
lar progressive path.
Even though he has been here
only two months, Stone has already
made an impression on the faculty
and students. During a discussion
last week on “Divisiveness in the
African-American community”.
Stone said blacks first need to learn
to be nice to each other and then
“Know who you are and be proud
of your black heritage,” he said.
“We should recognize differences
among us, but the differences should
not make a difference. We’ve got to
respect our we
can learn to enjoy each other’s
As a professor, Stone hopes to
give students at least five things:
appreciation for excellence, deter
mination to be the best, a deeper
involvement with their fellow man,
the tools and skills to be become
successful, and lastly, a better sense
of humor.
“Be serious but don ’ t take your
self seriously,” he advises.
How does Chuck Stone feel
about the larger-than-hfe image
students and colleagues ascribe
He quotes a passage from the
Biblical book of Matthew: “What
doth it profiteth the man if he gains
the world and loses his soul?”
And paraphrases newspaper edi
tor and abolitionist Horace Greeley:
“Fame is a vapor, and popularity an
accident, but character endures.”

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