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Percy Ellis Sutton
Birth: Nov. 24, 1920
San Antonio
Bexar County
Texas, USA
Death: Dec. 26, 2009
Manhattan
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Politician, Civil rights activist, lawyer and entrepreneur. He was born the last child of 15 children to Samuel J. and Lillian V. Smith-Sutton. He joined the United States Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet and served as an intelligence officer in World War II with the famous Tuskegee Airmen. After being honorably discharged in 1945, he earned his law degree from Brooklyn Law School and passed the New York bar in 1950. He then returned to the military as a trial judge advocate. In 1953, he left the military and, with his brother, Oliver Sutton, and a friend, George Covington set up a law partnership. During the 1950s and 1960s, he was considered by many to be one of America's best-known lawyers. He represented many controversial figures, such as Malcolm X. After Malcolm's death, he continued to represent the Shabazz family, when needed. In addition to representing Malcolm X for a decade until his 1965 assassination, his law firm handled the cases of more than 200 defendants arrested in the South during 1963 to 1964 civil rights marches. In 1961 he was elected president of the New York office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People where he served two terms and he also participated in, and gave leadership to, many civil rights demonstrations and protests. He helped to integrate the Greyhound Bus Station lunch counter in Montgomery, Alabama in 1961. He was elected a New York State Assemblyman in 1964. As an Assemblyman, he was a major supporter of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Another initiative of his was the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge program enables thousands of disadvantaged students to gain a college education. In 1966, the New York City Council chose him to become Manhattan Borough President and was re-elected by an overwhelming majority. From 1966 to 1977 he was the highest elected African American official in the state, and the longest tenure at that position. In 1971, he founded the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, which purchased and developed radio stations making them the first black-owned stations in New York City. He served as an Auxiliary Police officer with the New York City Police Department in the late 1970s. In 1981, he rescued from bankruptcy the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He created the nationally syndicated television show, "It's Showtime at the Apollo," and operated the theater until 1991. He retired in 1991, but his work as an adviser, mentor and confidante to politicians and businessmen never stopped. In 1995 and 1996, during the Clinton administration, he represented the United States as a business delegate to the Group of Seven Nations meeting on Telecommunications and High Technology in Brussels, and the Group of Seven developing nations Intelligence Technology Conference in South Africa, respectively. He has received more than 750 national, international, and local awards. In 1986, he was granted the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People highest award, the Spingarn Medal. He also was a life member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He died at the age of 89 in a New York nursing home struggling with dementia. (bio by: Jackie) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Samuel Johnson Sutton (1863 - 1950)
  Lillian Viola Smith Sutton (1873 - 1971)
 
 Siblings:
  John Wesley Sutton (1897 - 1978)*
  Garlington Jerome Sutton (1908 - 1976)*
  William N. Sutton (1910 - 1971)*
  Oliver Carter Sutton (1916 - 1983)*
  Essie Miltida Sutton (1917 - 2010)*
  Percy Ellis Sutton (1920 - 2009)
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Gates of Heaven Memorial Cemetery
San Antonio
Bexar County
Texas, USA
Plot: Sutton Family Plot, Section A
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Jackie
Record added: Dec 27, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 45857274
Percy Ellis Sutton
Added by: Anonymous
 
Percy Ellis Sutton
Added by: Anonymous
 
Percy Ellis Sutton
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Deleon Todd
 
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