A legendary voice was silenced this week when journalist Chuck Stone died in Chapel Hill at the age of 89.
Mr. Stone was a newspaper editor and columnist who was unabashed in his criticism of elected officials and a fiery advocate for civil rights. He also was a professor at UNC Chapel Hill. His guidance put many young journalists on firm footing as they entered their profession.
He cared deeply about his fellow man and justice. When he worked in Philadelphia, suspects would often surrender to Mr. Stone instead of the police because they trusted he would make sure they weren’t mistreated. Perhaps the most famous story about Mr. Stone is when he successfully negotiated an end to a prison standoff in which prisoners had taken some employees hostage. He later said he was terrified, but he did it anyway.
Mr. Stone made journalists better and helped pave paths, particularly, for journalists of color. He also made society better by turning a spotlight on corruption, police brutality and challenges within the African-American community.
We posthumously award Mr. Stone this week’s Grit Award. He fought the good fight, and we are deeply indebted to him for what he did for our profession and our society.