Percy Sutton Dead At 89
December 27, 2009 at 4:36 AM (PT)
PERCY SUTTON, the pioneering U.S. civil rights attorney who represented MALCOLM X before launching successful careers in politics and the media, died SATURDAY at age 89. MARISSA SHORENSTEIN, a spokeswoman for NEW YORK Gov. DAVID PATERSON, confirmed SUTTON's death. She did not know the cause.
The son of a slave, PERCY SUTTON became a fixture on 125th Street in HARLEM after moving to NEW YORK CITY following his service with the famed TUSKEGEE Airmen in World War II. His HARLEM law office, founded in 1953, represented MALCOLM X and the slain activist's family for decades.
In 1971, with his brother OLIVER, SUTTON purchased WLIB-A, making it the first black-owned radio station in NEW YORK CITY. His INNER CITY BROADCASTING CORP. eventually picked up WBLS, which reigned for years as NEW YORK's top-rated radio station, before buying stations in LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, DETROIT and SAN ANTONIO between 1978-85.
In addition to his radio holdings, SUTTON also headed a group that owned THE AMSTERDAM NEWS, the second largest black weekly newspaper in the country. The paper was later sold.