By now anyone following Black journalism or journalists knows that Charles “Chuck” Sumner Stone, Jr. passed away at the age of 89 on April 6, 2014. Most known as the first Black columnist and for his long tenure ((between 1972 and 1991) at the Philadelphia Daily News, Stone was also the first president and co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists. The story that most publications and web sites memorializing Stone will recount is that 75 African American men wanted by the police in Philadelphia turned themselves over to Stone during his time at the Daily News. Fearing police brutality these men trusted that Stone would provide a buffer from a Philadelphia police force known for its notorious abuse of African Americans. Other pieces have also recounted Stone’s negotiation of the surrender of prisoners in Graterford prision who had taken six hostages in an attempted escape in 1981. Like most tributes, we briefly learn about Stone’s upbringing, education and career path, in Stone’s case his path to journalism. Many of the memorials published over the past week chronicle his time in politics, writing for the Daily News and teaching in the journalism departments at the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, among other colleges.
Over a year ago the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) released a new marketing video produced by Logan Coles Sea Change Entertainment. — The video is extremely well-done and beautifully captures the history and future of the Black Press. The problem is that relatively few people know about the video. Presently the video has less than 200 views on Youtube. I am, of course, not under any impression that the video would go viral like the latest Beyonce video. Still, the Black Press has been and continues to be at the core of the African American experience. In this sense, the video merits greater attention, particularly from the academic community. The question, then, is how does the NNPA get the word out and make Black newspapers relevant to new generations of Black people in the United States?