Updated 12/28/2009 01:18 PM
Flags Lowered To Honor Percy Sutton
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Flags flew at half-staff around the city Monday in memory of Percy Sutton, the civil rights attorney, entrepreneur and politician, who passed away Saturday at the age of 89.
President Barack Obama called him a hero to African-Americans, and Governor David Paterson remembered him as a friend and longtime mentor.
Sutton is credited with saving the famed Apollo Theater, which he purchased and renovated for $250,000 in 1981.
"The Apollo Theater would not be here if Mister Sutton hadn't had the vision, the knowledge, and the fortitude to reopen the theater,” said friend Billy Mitchell.
"The story of Percy Sutton personifies the story of African-Americans in the 20th Century. Started as the son of a slave, started as a victim, died as a victor,” said Reverend Al Sharpton.
The son of a slave, Sutton first moved to New York City after serving in World War II. He went on to open a law office in Harlem, where he represented Malcolm X, his family and many other defendants.
Sutton broke barriers by serving one term as a state assemblyman, before taking over as the longest-serving Manhattan borough president from 1966 to 1977. He was the state's highest-ranking black elected official at the time.
Sutton also mounted unsuccessful campaigns for United States Senate and mayor.
He went on to become a successful entrepreneur, owning both WBLS and WLIB, the city's first black-owned radio station.