Percy Sutton dies at 89, attorney for Malcom X

Cheryl Phillips's picture

Percy Sutton, was a lawyer who represented many controversial figures such as Malcolm X, was known as one of America's best known lawyers during the 1950's and 1960's. Sutton died on December 26 at the age of 89. He was a civil rights activist, lawyer and entrepreneur and was known as one of America's best known lawyers during the 1950's and 1960's.

Percy Sutton founded his law firm in 1953 in Harlem, New York. He represented Malcolm X and the slain activist's family for many years. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 while giving a speech in New York.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Sutton was the youngest of 15 siblings. Both parents were educators and business people.

Sutton ran for Borough president of the Borough of Manhattan in 1965. He won with 80% of the vote. He served in that post until 1977, when he ran for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of New York City against Congressman Ed Koch, New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo, Mayor Abraham Beame, former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, and Congressman Herman Badillo. Koch ended up winning the nomination and became Mayor.

In 1971, Sutton founded the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, which purchased and developed radio stations WLIB-AM and WBLS-FM; making them the first black-owned stations in New York City.

In 1981, Sutton rescued the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem from bankruptcy.

Percy Sutton leaves behind his wife Leatrice, two children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

sources:, wikipedia, MSNBC

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