Just a week ago I told a colleague. I want to meet him. Chuck Stone was the kind of man and journalist one had to experience. Not simply read about.
This morning I learned I never would meet Chuck Stone – his illness had won out.
I immediately turned to YouTube where interviews live and where the sound of Chuck Stone’s voice, the twinkle in his eye and his sartorial splendor will stay vivid. It’s a short news story about the election of Barack Obama and it is worth watching. Chuck Stone looks young and vigorous and optimistic.
All day I’ve read thoughts, and jottings and memories of J-school faculty who worked with Chuck Stone. There wasn’t simply sadness on the faculty listserv today. There was joyous remembering:
Only a handful of people I have met in my life truly had the ability to inspire. Chuck was one of those extraordinary people. I will cherish my memories of him.
Another big timber has fallen in the forest.
I am sitting in haloed ground this morning; Shu’s former office, where he and Chuck carried on, cussed and laughed.
And at Chuck’s passing, I recall his great lesson at a J-53 Mid-Week Special from years back…(paraphrased here) …that ‘multiculturalism” isn’t just one race putting up with another…it’s that we should all be celebrating one another.
He was one of the first people to welcome me to Carolina…. so accomplished, yet so unassuming. I’ll never forget him.
Although we are sad to hear the news, there is much to celebrate in the life of Chuck Stone and his many accomplishments. He (Chuck) was an original—a Tuskegee Airman, a publisher and editor, founding father of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Carolina Association of Black Journalists (CABJ), a member of the N.C. Journalism Halls of Fame, and more accolades—too many to cite here.
Napoleon was interviewed by the DTH for his thoughts on Chuck Stone and his wonderful legacy of fighting for diversity and the rights of all citizens. “We will remember him as an original whose life was committed to advancing diversity in all its forms,” Napoleon commented. “Chuck was a role model for us all—in the classroom and in life.”
Chuck Stone, Citizen of the World.
We were “family” from the first day he arrived. Our shared admiration of all-things-Andy-Griffith led us to take the “Andy Griffith Appreciation Course” at Alamance Community College about 3 months after he arrived. What a class that was!
Chuck liked to quote scripture, and his favorite, as I recall it, was from Timothy II: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”
Would make a good epitaph.
Visitors to the assisted living home he was living in these last few years found that Chuck Stone had moments of real laughter and memory, but also moments where he couldn’t remember. Today, many who knew him—and those of us who didn’t—will feel again the optimism of a journalist and educator who brought a vision of diversity and its power to life. That optimism and promise lives on in the students who have competed and won a place in the summer program that bears his name. The Chuck Stone program. This summer he won’t be with them – but I am certain that his power and passion will.
Chuck Stone’s spirit and impact isn’t diminished in death. It’s shared with young diverse students who seek a place in the American dream.