Chuck Stone papers, 1931-2007 and undated

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Stone, Chuck
Charles Sumner (Chuck) Stone was a prominent African-American journalist, with a career spanning from his early days at the New York Age (1958-1959) to his position as editor and columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News (1972-1991). Between 1965 and 1967 he was special assistant and press secretary to New York representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. He served as mediator between the police and suspected criminals for over 20 years, most notably in his negotiation of the Graterford Prison hostage crisis in 1981. He is the author of multiple books, from political analyses to a novel about his time with Powell and (in 2003) a children's book. He was also an educator for many years, as Professor of English at the University of Delaware from 1985-1991 and Walter Spearman Professor of Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1991 to 2005, when he retired. The collection contains clippings, correspondence, writings, scrapbooks, photographs, video, audio, research files, and printed materials pertaining to the life and career of Chuck Stone. The papers span the years 1931-2007 and document Stone's journalism career and writings, his political career and relationship with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and his role as an educator.
36.2 Linear Feet (18,650 items)
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The Chuck Stone Papers span the years 1931 to 2007. The collection consists of clippings and other print materials, correspondence, writings, scrapbooks, photographs, a videotape, research files, and diplomas and certificates pertaining to the life and career of Chuck Stone. Of the subject areas documented here are Stone's career as a prominent African-American journalist, his political career and relationship with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (including Powell's time as head of the Congressional Committee on Education and Labor), his role as a mediator between suspects and the criminal justice system, and his involvement in civil rights struggles in the United States. Also represented, but to a much lesser extent, is his teaching career at the University of Delaware and UNC-Chapel Hill. The collection is divided into nine series, each described below. Of these, the largest by far are the Clippings and the Subject Files series, which document respectively Stone's journalistic writings (especially during his time at the Philadelphia Daily News) and his research interests over the years, including racial politics in the U.S., African-Americans in the media, the criminal justice system, censorship and free speech, and standardized testing. The collection was acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Collection of African and African-American Documentation.

The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Congressional Series documents Stone's time as press secretary and special assistant to Powell. It contains office and business correspondence both to and from Stone; clippings and other printed materials about Powell or the Committee on Education and Labor; office files on individual members of congress (notably Florida Democrat Sam Gibbons, partly responsible for the campaign to remove Powell from his position as head of the Committee); files related to the workings of the Committee; press releases written by Stone; and a number of papers relating to Powell's exclusion from Congress in 1967. This series should be useful both for those interested in the career of Powell, since Stone worked for him during a pivotal time in his career, and for those interested in the workings of the Committee on Education and Labor during that time.

The Clippings Series is made up predominantly of Stone's columns from the Philadelphia Daily News and the NEA Viewpoint (a Newspaper Enterprise Association column syndicated by United Media), as well as articles about Stone from various newspapers, and some writings by Stone appearing in other newspapers. Topics addressed by Stone in his columns include racial politics in the U.S., Philadelphia politics, the media, Ireland, Stone's travels in Africa, women's issues and feminism, the criminal justice system, and standardized testing. Researchers interested in Stone's journalism career prior to 1972 will find some earlier clippings here, but should consult the Scrapbooks Series for more extensive materials and clippings from that period.

The Correspondence Series contains correspondence to and from Stone relating to business and personal matters. The majority of this series is made up of general correspondence or correspondence relating to Stone's position as editor and columnist of the Philadelphia Daily News. The remainder of the series comprises topical folders of correspondence, such as the correspondence between Stone and Edward M. Ryder, an inmate at Graterford Prison. Other such correspondence can be found in the "Criminal justice system" subsection of the Subject Files Series.

The Other Writings Series houses Stone's writings not contained in the Clippings Series, such as speeches, sermons, and television transcripts; business documents and research files pertaining to different projects on which Stone worked, such as his attempts to develop his own life or his writings on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. into a movie, or various uncompleted book projects; and a small subset of writings by others, including an autobiography of Corinne Huff on which Stone worked. It is divided into three subseries to accommodate the restriction on the collection: the Published Writings by Stone Subseries, the Unpublished Writings by Stone Subseries, and the Writings by Others Subseries. Notably absent from this series are manuscripts of Stone's books. Instead, the series contains either shorter published materials, such as publicly delivered speeches, or working documents assembled for the creation of larger works.

The Scrapbooks Series houses the contents of four scrapbooks assembled by Stone during the 1950s and 1960s. They contain a number of clippings, programs, and some correspondence pertaining to his time at the New York Age, the Washington Afro-American, the Chicago Defender, and working for Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. The series is especially useful for documenting Stone's early career and his position as an outspoken African-American journalist and defender of civil rights. Researchers interested in this period in Stone's life should also consult the Clippings Series for more materials from the period in question that are not present in the scrapbooks.

The St. Louis Series is a small series housing clippings and correspondence related to Stone's brief position as ombudsman for the St. Louis Post-Disptach, overseeing their coverage of the 1997 mayoral election. The series is divided into a Published Materials Subseries, which houses clippings from the Post-Dispatch and related newspapers, and an Unpublished Materials Subseries, in which can be found correspondence, business documents, and responses to several readers polls conducted by Stone.

In the Subject Files Series can be found Stone's research files on different subject areas, arranged alphabetically. The files contain primarily clippings, but also some correspondence and notes. Several subcategories that are heavily represented and should be mentioned are the files on censorship and the first amendment, on the criminal justice system, on standardized testing, and on materials relating to his time at UNC-Chapel Hill. There are also numerous files related to racial politics in the U.S., but these files are less discrete than the categories described above and are to be found throughout the series rather than under a specific subheading.

The Teaching Materials Series contains a small amount of material pertaining to Stone's teaching career. The bulk of this series comes from his time at UNC-Chapel Hill, and includes syllabi, exams, assignments, student papers, and other teaching paperwork. Most heavily represented in this regard is Stone's popular class on censorship, for which there are multiple syllabi and exams from different years and semesters.

Finally, the Audiovisual Materials Series collects photographs touching on all aspects of Stone's life, from press photos of Stone and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to family portraits. Also included in this series are a videotape of a documentary about Powell, press passes and identification badges, and an election pin kept by Stone.

Unprocessed Addition 2009-0009 (50 items; .2 lin. ft.; dated 1963-2005) comprises primarily photographs, but also contains a few letters, clippings, awards, and a dvd-r. The original DVD-R is closed to patron use; however, the information on the disk has been migrated to the electronic records server.

Addition 2012-0099 has been processed and included in the original collection's description as boxes 64-66. Some parts of this addition have been interfiled into existing boxes.

Biographical / historical:
Chronology List
Date Event
1924 July 21
Born in St. Louis, Mo. to Charles Sumner and Madalene Martha (Chafin) Stone
Attended Springfield College
Drafted, commissioned as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps
Graduated from Wesleyan University, A.B. Degree in political science and economics
Graduated from the University of Chicago, M.A. in sociology
Represented CARE ( Cooperative American Remittances Everywhere) in Egypt and India
Began work as a journalist at the New York Age
1958 Oct. 4
Married Georgia Louise Davis
Became Associate Director of the American Committee on Africa
Became White House correspondent and editor of the Washington Afro-African
Became Editor-in-Chief and Columnist for the Chicago Defender
Television commentator for WCIU Chicago
Press secretary and special assistant for New York Congressional Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
Published Tell It Like It Is
Publication of Black Political Power in America
Commentator for The Today Show on NBC
Publication of King Strut
Director of Minority Services for the ETS ( Educational Testing Service)
Senior Editor and Columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News
First president of the National Association of Black Journalists
First president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists
1981 Nov.
Served as negotiator in the Graterford Prison hostage situation in Graterford, PA
Co-founded FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing
Became Professor of English at the University of Delaware
Attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Appointed Walter Spearman Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill
Served as readers' advocate for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Published Squizzy the Black Squirrel: A Fabulous Tale of Friendship
Retired from teaching
2014 April 6
Passed away in Capel Hill, NC
Acquisition information:
The Chuck Stone Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2004 and 2007, as part of the John Hope Franklin Center for African and African-American Documentation.
Processing information:

Processed by Alexander Ruch and Lauren Hunt, March 2007

Encoded by Alexander Ruch and Lauren Hunt

Completed April 2007

Accessions 2004-0025 and 2006-0073 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Finding aid updated to include unprocessed accession 2009-0009 by Alice Poffinberger in July 2009. Finding aid updated to include accession 2012-0099 and other audiovisual description by Craig Breaden in 2023.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Chuck Stone Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.