Local News

UNC Journalism Professor Set To Write New Chapter In Life

Posted December 2, 2004 3:47 a.m. EST

— Chuck Stone has taught thousands of young journalists and other students during 13 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but he is getting ready for a new chapter in his life -- retirement.

"I think the book of Ecclesiastes says it's time to do something and I'm doing it," he said.

Stone will retire at the end of next semester. His small office could be a museum. He has photos with his friends, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy. Before teaching, Stone was a newspaper reporter and editor.

At the

Washington Afro American

, he was part of the White House press corps. At the

Chicago Defender

, he covered King's "I Have A Dream Speech," but he said his story was less than stellar.

"I said, 'Can I get a copy of your speech?'" He said, 'Oh, sure Chuck here,' and he gave it to me and I filed it. The 'I have a dream' sequence' was not in that speech," he said.

King added that part on the ride to the speech. Stone said that experience is a great lesson.

"I tell my students when your mother says she loves you, check it out, and I didn't check it out. That's the guarantee of accuracy," he said.

At the

Philadelphia Daily News

, Stone's writings about police brutality made him famous. Seventy-five murder suspects turned themselves in to Stone. He even negotiated the end to seven hostage situations.

"People just trusted me. That's all. I had a reputation as being a very outspoken person," he said.

Stone's outspokenness got him the label by critics as an "angry black man."

"I succumb to intemperance occasionally. I was too harsh in some of my criticisms," he said.

The 80-year-old professor said he is most proud of serving as special assistant to Rep. Adam Clayton Powell. He believes his biggest influence was in journalism.

"I was the founding president of the National Association of Black Journalists and I think that was a big contribution," he said.

Stone is working on three books including a children's book that chronicles the life of his great-grandmother. He is not the only go-getter in the family. His son, Charles Stone II, directed the "Whazzup" commercials for Budweiser and the movies, Drumline and Mr. 3000.