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Journalist: Obama presidency not yet MLK promised land

Posted January 16, 2009 5:08 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Chuck Stone, a retired University of North Carolina journalism professor who covered the pioneers of the civil rights movement, said he never thought he would live to see an African-American elected president.

"Never in my wildest dreams," said Stone, 84. "That's the one thing I'm proud of – that I lived that long to see that happen."

An expert on black political power, he knew or worked with virtually every major civil rights leader.

"The Christian Science Monitor called me the angry young man of the negro press," he said, noting that he simply spoke out.

Stone said he always looked forward to a day when someone like Barack Obama would become president, but he said he's not ready to say an Obama administration is the promised land for blacks that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about decades ago.

"I think we've made tremendous progress, and we still have a long way to go," he said. "I'm a congenital optimist, and I've lived to see these things happen and I'll live to see more."

Stone has covered four presidential inaugurations, including John F. Kennedy's in 1960, but he said he will watch Obama take the  oath of office from the comfort of his Chapel Hill home.