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Author Myrlie Evers-Williams is a trailblazer as an activist for civil rights

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Student Bureau

Fighting to be heard

As the first president of the NABJ, Chuck Stone sought to give minorities a voice in the media
As the first president of the NABJ, Chuck Stone sought to give minorities a voice in the media  

An activist and journalist devotes his life to finding, protecting the black voice

February 14, 2001
Web posted at: 2:28 PM EST (1928 GMT)

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CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (CNNSB) -- Chuck Stone is a bit of living history. A journalist who has dedicated his life to being a champion of First Amendment rights.

CNN Student Bureau's Holly Headrick reports on Chuck Stone

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Stone rallied to prevent censorship and to make sure African-American issues were reported fairly and accurately. In 1975, Stone became the first president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). The NABJ would seek to change the way the media would tell Black America's story by lobbying to increase black employment in the mainstream media and correct race-related bias in the black community.

When the NABJ was formed, only a handful of African-Americans were working in major media operations. Stone vehemently spoke out against local dailies and blasted several U.S. presidential administrations for ignoring African-American issues. Thanks in large part to Stone's effort, the NABJ has gone from 47 members to more than 3,000.

Chuck Stone holds an esteemed journalism professorship at UNC-Chapel Hill and is considered a favorite among students
Chuck Stone holds an esteemed journalism professorship at UNC-Chapel Hill and is considered a favorite among students  

Today, Stone teaches journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a favorite among students.

Over the years, Stone has passionately sought to protect the public's voice. At the University of North Carolina, he developed an honors censorship course, which is one of the most popular on campus. Stone recently traveled to Russia to lecture about censorship, and he frequently travels to discuss the issue.

Stone says he didn't intend to be a journalist. A family friend asked him to work for a weekly black newspaper and he took the job. Stone later became a White House correspondent.

During the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, Stone worked for three influential black-owned newspapers. He has since worked as a "Today Show" commentator and for newspapers, including the Philadelphia Daily News, where his reputation as a liaison between the community and the police was so good that crime suspects often turned themselves in to Stone rather than to the police department.

Many would call Stone a militant in his early days because of his relationship to leaders of black political movements in the civil rights era. Stone keeps photos of two of his closest friends in his office -- the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Stone retired from daily journalism in 1991. Many universities have honored him for his work in journalism, which included interviews with the late President John F. Kennedy and former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Stone was a John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University's Institute for Politics, and is today a professor at the University of North Carolina.

The 76-year-old Stone continues to travel, teach and work for the international travel and science magazine, National Geographic.

Chuck Stone bibliography
Carolina Week; Real News by Real Students from UNC-CH
School of Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill

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