Friday, January 8, 2010

Percy Sutton, Harlem Political Pioneer, Dies At 89



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Percy E. Sutton was a pioneering figure who represented Malcolm X as a young lawyer and became one of the nation’s most prominent black political and business leaders. He died in a Manhattan nursing home on Dec. 26, 2009, his family said. He was 89. Entering politics in the early 1950s, Mr. Sutton rose from the Democratic clubhouses of Harlem to become the longest-serving Manhattan borough president and, for more than a decade, the highest-ranking black elected official in New York City. Mr. Sutton, whose passion for civil rights was inherited from his father, was arrested as a Freedom Rider in Mississippi and Alabama in the 1960s, yet once described himself as “an evolutionist rather than a revolutionist” in matters of race. “You ought always to keep the lines of communication open with those with whom you disagree,” he said.


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