Civil rights attorney and politician Percy Sutton has died.
The son of a slave, Sutton first moved to New York City after serving with the Tuskegee Airmen 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 as a New York State Assemblyman before taking over as Manhattan Borough President in 1966 — the state’s highest-ranking black elected official at the time.
He also mounted two unsuccessful campaigns for US Senate and city mayor.
Sutton rescued the famed Apollo Theater in 1981, by purchasing and renovating it for a quarter million dollars.
Reverend Al Sharpton is expected to hold a news conference at the famed theater later today.
In a statement, Governor David Paterson called Sutton a friend and a longtime mentor saying, “Percy was fiercely loyal, compassionate and a truly kind soul. He will be missed but his legacy lives on through the next generations of African-Americans.”
There’s no word yet on a cause of death.
Sutton was 89-years-old.