Percy Sutton: Passing Of A Legend

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Governor David A. Paterson: “Percy Sutton was a trailblazer. He began his career as a prominent lawyer for Malcolm X and then took Harlem by storm as a leader of the Harlem Clubhouse where he launched not only his own successful political career but, as a member of the Gang of Four, spawned the successful careers of so many other African-American leaders.

[Memorial: Percy Sutton]

Following are some of the tributes that have come in for Percy Sutton who passed away Saturday.

Governor David A. Paterson: “Tonight, we say farewell to one of New York’s and this nation’s most influential African-American leaders – a man whom I am proud to have called a friend and mentor throughout my entire career.

“Percy Sutton was a trailblazer. He began his career as a prominent lawyer for Malcolm X and then took Harlem by storm as a leader of the Harlem Clubhouse where he launched not only his own successful political career but, as a member of the Gang of Four, spawned the successful careers of so many other African-American leaders.
It was Percy Sutton who talked me into running for office and who has continued to serve as one of my most valued advisors ever since. 

“The youngest of fifteen children, Percy dreamt big and exceeded even the highest of expectations. His success did not end simply with legal triumph or elective office –
both of which he attained. Beyond those achievements, it was his entrepreneurial spirit that led to some of his greatest accomplishments – the rebirth of the Apollo
Theater, the stewardship of a growing media empire and more.

“Percy was fiercely loyal, compassionate and a truly kind soul. He will be missed but his legacy lives on through the next generations of African-Americans he
inspired to pursue and fulfill their own dreams and ambitions.

“Thank you, Percy, for your friendship and for all that you have contributed to our State and our Nation. On behalf of Michelle, the Paterson Family and all New
Yorkers, our prayers are with your family.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "New York has always been a city of trailblazers, but few have opened more doors for more people than Percy Sutton did.
From his service to our nation in WWII, to serving our City in Albany as an Assemblyman and as the longest-serving president of the borough of Manhattan, he not
only lived the civil rights movement, he shaped it and played a key role in ensuring its success. As Borough President, Percy opened up the door to many students
to attend City University. He was in the forefront of Black entrepreneurship, which created ownership of media companies by Blacks, and the first Black-owned radio
station in New York City. It's hard to capture in just a few words how important Percy's contributions were - and just how unique an individual he was. He helped move African Americans, and all of New York forward. Personally, I consider myself lucky to be among the many to whom he gave advice.

"Starting tomorrow, flags at all New York City government buildings will be lowered in his honor, and I ask all New Yorkers to keep his widow,
Leatrice, his son Pierre, daughter Cheryl." 

State Senator Kevin Parker: “The passing of Mr. Percy Sutton is a tragic loss for our nation. Not only have we lost one of the great icons of American Politics, but we have also lost a man who dedicated his life to ensure that everyone is afforded the same rights and opportunities.

“Percy Sutton inspired millions of African Americans all over the world and fought with great courage for many righteous causes. He came to New York seeking the limitless opportunities our state has always provided to the many millions of other Americans and served as a public servant, lending his powerful voice to the people in Harlem and to those who needed it the most.

“As we grieve his loss and remember his leadership and service, we send our thoughts and prayers to the entire Sutton family.”

Jonelle Procope, President & CEO, The Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc: "The Apollo family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the Honorable Percy
E. Sutton--a visionary, a true champion of  civil rights, and one of our greatest statesmen. Throughout his life, Mr. Sutton showed a profound devotion to Harlem and
New York City. In keeping with his commitment to the Harlem community, Mr. Sutton purchased the Apollo Theater in 1981 and proceeded to restore and revitalize  the
Theater. The Apollo and its staff stand on the shoulders of Mr. Sutton as the Theater continues to flourish  today in this, our 75th anniversary year. Our
sympathy goes out to the entire Sutton family. Mr. Sutton will be greatly missed and will always be an integral part of the Apollo legacy."

 


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