By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Chuck Stone, a longtime Philadelphia Daily News columnist and cofounder of the National Association of Black Journalists, died over the weekend.

Stone worked at the Daily News from 1971 to 1991.  The paper’s first black columnist, he became so influential that he was called in to defuse a hostage situation at Graterford Prison in 1981, going into the prison where guards were being held by heavily armed inmates after a failed escape attempt.

“Chuck put himself at great risk, but he had the personal skills to negotiate his way through that,” recalls former Daily News editor Zack Stalberg.

Stone was also cofounder and first president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“It gave the black community a voice within the news departments,” notes KYW Newsradio business editor Vince Hill, also chairman of the NABJ’s broadcast task force, “because at the time there were no people of color in newsrooms — whether it was newspapers, radio, or television — across the country.”

Stone died at an assisted living home in Chapel Hill, NC.  He was 89.

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