Some other broadcasters will be among the many dignitaries at Wednesday’s funeral service for Percy Sutton at New York’s Riverside Church, but like Sutton they are known for interests and activities that stretch far beyond the radio business. Civil rights leader and radio talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton, a longtime associate of Sutton, will deliver the eulogy.
Sutton, the founder of Inner City Broadcasting, died the day after Christmas. He was 89.
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, also a broadcaster, will be there. Also present as a speaker will be former Mayor David Dinkins, who became the first black mayor of New York, years after prospects for that title slipped from Sutton’s grasp. But he was Manhattan Borough President for over a decade. Dinkins, like Sutton, was part of Harlem’s political “Gang of Four,” and the remaining two members will also be delivering remembrances. They include US Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and former New York State Senator Basil Paterson. Paterson’s son, the current Governor of New York, David Paterson, has to be in Albany for his State of the State Address, but will speak with the Sutton family privately before the funeral.
Tributes will also be given by Rev. Jesse Jackson, family and friends.
Other dignitaries expected to attend include Ruby Dee, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, Dr. Billy Taylor, Rachel Robinson and former city council member Archie Spigner.
Melba Moore will sing “Amazing Grace” accompanied by Jazzmobile’s pianist, Danny Mixon.
“I was humbled and honored to be asked by the Sutton family to give the eulogy for the services of Percy Ellis Sutton. Mr. Sutton was peerless in the 20th Century as the quintessential Afro American leader. He was the King of Harlem and all of us in New York grew up imitating him and being molded by him,” said Sharpton.
“The Chairman” will be celebrated, honored and remembered by an array of New York and national notables at the service on January 6th. Afterward, his remains will be cremated, taken to Texas and flown over the family farm in San Antonio by his son, Pepe.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that charitable donations be made to the NAACP NYS Conference, and sent to NAACP, 1085 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 300, New York, NY 10018.
RBR-TVBR observation: We were only privileged to meet and speak with “The Chairman” a few times, but Percy Sutton was someone that you would never forget once you met him. He was a gentleman in the best sense of the word. He achieved so much, no doubt, because he was persuasive without being argumentative, forceful without being rude and a visionary who also knew how to deal with reality. The world needs more men like Percy Sutton. He will be missed.