A paper carrier in his youth, Stallworth graduated from Marengo County High School and Marion Military Institute. He joined the Navy and served in both World War II and the Korean War. He went on to attend Emory University in Atlanta and got his degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina. He worked briefly at a radio station in Wilmington, North Carolina before he returned to Alabama as a cub reporter for the Birmingham Post in 1948, typing up sermon topics and obituaries.
By purchasing and learning to use his own Speed Graphic press camera, Stallworth began to get juicier story assignments. He covered the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, nearly being killed once during an ambush in Sumiton and surrounded again at a backwoods rally near Warrior. For his work reporting on the clean-up of Phenix City by the Alabama National Guard, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the Associated Press Sweepstakes for 1954.
Following the state legislature's mishandled reapportionment crisis in the early 1960s, he wrote a 14-part series exposing the "unholy alliance" between Black Belt interests and the "Big Mule" corporations in Birmingham. In 1963 he was made city editor of the Post-Herald, coordinating that paper's coverage of the Civil Rights struggles of that time. His membership in the Young Men's Business Club, which took an active role in lobbying for integration, caused conflict with his managing editor. Stallworth left for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Georgia in 1965 and stayed only two years before returning to Birmingham as city editor and managing editor for the Birmingham News.
Beginning in 1980, Stallworth began writing a regular "Alabama Journey" column with contemporary human interest stories. Another regular column, "A Day in the Life of Alabama" has been collected in three volumes of stories from Alabama's history.
Stallworth retired from the newspaper in 1991 and began a second career as a writing consultant, giving workshops across the country on behalf of the American Press Institute and teaching at the University of Alabama, Samford University and UAB. In 2000 he resumed a regular column for the Post-Herald which ran until the paper folded in 2005. Stallworth held the distinction of having his byline appear on the front page of the first and last editions of the Post-Herald.
Stallworth was married to novelist Anne Nall Stallworth and had two children. He succumbed to liver cancer in June 2008.
- Stallworth, Clark (1994) A Day in the Life of Alabama. Birmingham: Seacoast Publishing. ISBN 1878561251
- Stallworth, Clark (1994) One Day in Alabama: Volume II: Statehood to Civil War. Birmingham: Seacoast Publishing. ISBN 1878561375
- Stallworth, Clark (1994) 'One Day in Alabama: Volume III: The Civil War Years. Birmingham: Seacoast Publishing. ISBN 1878561553
- "About the author" in Clarke Stallworth (1994) A Day in the Life of Alabama. Birmingham: Seacoast Publishing. ISBN 1878561251
- Stallworth, Clarke (September 22, 2005) "Here from beginning to end." Birmingham Post-Herald
- Gordon, Tom (June 27, 2008) "Longtime Alabama newsman Clarke Stallworth dies." The Birmingham News