Chuck Stone was born Charles Sumner Stone, Jr. on July 21, 1924 in St. Louis, Missouri. Stone’s father was business manager for Annie Malone’s Poro College, and his mother, Madalene M. Chafin Stone was the payroll officer for the Hartford Board of Education. In Hartford, Connecticut, Stone attended Arsenal Elementary School, Bernard Junior High School and graduated with honors from Hartford Public High School as “class prophet” in 1942. Drafted in 1943, Stone was commissioned as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Leaving the army in 1945, Stone earned his A.B. degree from Wesleyan University in 1948 and his M.A. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1951.
Stone represented CARE in India and Egypt from 1957 to 1958. Recruited by the New York Age, Stone became editor from 1958 to 1960. In 1960, he became associate director of the American Committee on Africa and the White House correspondent and editor of the Washington Afro-American. He was named editor-in-chief of the Chicago Defender in 1963 and taught journalism at Columbia College. From 1965 to 1967, Stone served as special assistant to Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., writing speeches and directing activities for the House Education and Labor Committee. Stone cultivated close relationships with both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. His books, Tell It Like It Is, Black Political Power In America and King Strut and his appearances on talk shows made him a national pundit. From 1972 to 1991, Stone was a political columnist and senior editor for the Philadelphia Daily News. Stone also taught at the University of Delaware, and from 1991 to 2005, he served as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the Walter Spearman Professor in the School of Mass Communications.
From 1975 to 1977, Stone was founding president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and first host of PBS’s Black Perspectives On The News. Nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize, Stone was a member of the NABJ Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of the 1993 Free Spirit Award from the Freedom Forum; the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Thomas Jefferson Award in 2002; and the Trailblazer Award from Greensboro, North Carolina’s Sit-In Movement, Inc. in 2005. In 2003, Stone wrote a children’s book about race called, Squizzy the Black Squirrel.
Stone and his wife, Louise, had three children, Krishna, Allegra and Charles, III, a movie director.
Stone passed away on April 6, 2014.
Chuck Stone was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 4, 2005.