Chuck Stone's favorite career may have been serving as legislative aide to Congressman Powell, whom he admired but never canonized. He enjoyed being at the center of the political action, especially when Powell was at the peak of his political power and influence, and was considered to be "Mr. Civil Rights."
Among Stone's tasks was issuing "clarifying" statements after some off-hand remark by Powell had set off a furor. Stone later wrote a novel titled "King Strut," about a character much like the flamboyant Congressman.
What I most remember from my own brief contacts with Chuck Stone, years ago, was his comment after we exchanged views on racial issues.
"You are a black nationalist," he said. This was one of the few names I had never been called before.
"Come on, Chuck," I said. "I don't even own a dashiki."
"You are still a black nationalist," he insisted.
The term would certainly apply to Chuck Stone himself. He advocated self-help.
"Before there were food stamps," he said, "people fed their families. Before there was federal aid to education, black kids went to college." As for "black English," he called it a "cop out" from rigorous standards.
We shall not see his like again. And never was someone like him more needed.
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