Percy Sutton Funeral at Riverside Church

The memorial service for the late Percy Ellis Sutton, prominent civil rights, political and business pioneer, will take place at The Riverside Church on Wednesday, January 6, 2009 at Riverside Church. The event is open to the public.

The Rev. Robert B. Coleman, chief program minister of The Riverside Church will lead the service, which will include the eulogy delivered by Rev. Al Sharpton; remembrances from Sutton’s fellow “Gang of Four” members—former Mayor David N. Dinkins, Congressman Charles B. Rangel and former New York State Senator Basil A. Paterson; as well as tributes from Governor David Paterson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, family and friends.  The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., senior minister emeritus of Riverside Church will officiate and deliver the funeral prayer.

Guests scheduled to participate in the service include:  Dr. Roscoe Brown; Inez Dickens; Hazel Dukes; Bobbi Humphrey; Clarence B. Jones; Melba Moore; and Attallah Shabazz

Charitable donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made payable to NAACP NYS Conference and sent to NAACP, 1085 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 300, New York, NY 10018

DATE:               WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6

TIME:               11:00 A.M. (SERVICE BEGINS)



5 replies on “Percy Sutton Funeral at Riverside Church”

  1. Much has been said about my dear friend Percy and all of the allcolates are well earned and well deserved. I like to add a few personal coments….

    I first met Percy in the summer of 1966. I was going into my sophmore year at Syracuse University and had a summer job with the Neighborhood Youth Corps, assigned to the Minisink Center in Harlem. Percy spoke at our final commencement week and invited the audience to come an visit him at his office on 125th Street in Harlem. I was young and interested in politics so I took him up on the offer. I think he was taken aback when I appeared at his office without an appointment but he took it in stride. He was on his way to do a radio show on WLIB and invited me to come along with him to the station. Once there he said in his distinguihed speaeking voice “I have here with me in the studio Mr. Edward Brown who is a sophermore at SU….”

    From there we developed a friendship and I would always stop by his political club (then the Joh F. Kennedy Club…later it became the Martin L King Club) on my thanksgiving, Xmas and summer vacations. Iwas interested in politics and was from Harlem (grew up in Lincoln Project) so it was a natural. Shortly thereafter President Johnson appointed Manhattan Borogh Presidnet, Costance Baker Motley to the federal bench and Percy stated an interest in replacing her as Borogh Pres. Percy was a state assemblyman at the time. I remember asking him “Who is going to replace you if you become Bororgh Pres.” His response, without hesitiation, was to point to a curley headed fellow behind him and say “This guy”. The curly headed fellow was none other than Charles B. Rangel and this conversation served as Percy’s introduction of Charlie to me. Three years later, in 1970, Charlie was elected to Congress after defeating the legendary Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

    I enjoyed working for both them in local campaigns for democratic district leader. Sometime they won , sometimes they lost. Percy also visited me at Syracuse University and we wrote each other regularly. Much later I mentioned to his wife that I was an “Eagle Scout” and much to my surprise she said “So is Percy”. After graduating from college I moved back to Harlem (this time Lenox Terrace -25 West 132nd St.) and became avtive in community affairs serving on a number of board including the Harlem Commonwealth Council. Percy appointed me to the Manhattan Planning Board #10 and I served there until I moved to Albany NY.

    Later when I moved to Albany to work with the NY State Dept. of Health during my community involvement managing a local talent show for the African-Americam Cultural Festival I worked with Percy to give the winners an opportuniy to perform a Harlem’s Appollo Theater. Eventually I was elected to the Board of Education of the City of Albany and served as President of the Board. But I never forgot Percy and always appreciated the interest, kindness and mentorship he showed to me as a 19 year old college student. And I still think of him with warm affection now that I am retired in Palm Coast Florida.

    My deepest sympathy goes out to the Sutton family particularly his dear wife and son Pepe
    whom I got to know as an adult. I also know that Charlie Rangel has lost a dear friend and political partner from the 1960s so my sympathy goes out to him. I spoke to Percy’s wife briefly when I visited NYC in Sept./Oct. 2008 and she told me that Percy wasn’t doing to well and was in a Nursing Home. I only wish I could have been there more often to see him at the end and am so sorry that I could not make the funeral. I was happy to see “Percy E. Sutton Plaza” in front of Chase Bank on 135th Street.and Fifth Ave.

    GOD Bless you you my dear friend and may you rest in Peace. And as long as I have a breath in my body your good deeds will not be forgotton and you will continue to live.

    With Heartfelt Thanks and Gratitude,

    Your Friend, Ed Brown
    Palm Coast Florida- 2010

  2. Thanks for sharing your intelligence and humor with those of us who sorely
    needed to borrow some of your excessive supply.

    Thanks for being a friend and mentor to successive generations of my family. My
    parents loved and admired you and were honored to have you as a friend.

    Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to instill confidence in
    myself and countless others. Thanks for the breakfasts at the Regency.

    You were truly one of a kind, and I am proud that you were my friend.


    Joe Roberts, Jr.

  3. The ancestors rejoice when a hero returns to the fold, and the Almighty smiles with loving arms of embrace..
    “Thy good, and faithful servant.. Well Done!”

  4. Harlem has lost a great leader and the world has lost a saint. We will always remember Percy Sutton as a pioneer in business, civic and community affairs. We will always honor his spirit, dedication and zest for the good life. Frank Smith, Founding Director, African American Civil War Memorial Museum, Washington, D. C.

  5. My family and I was raised in the Nation of Islam. We knew Brother Malcom X and his Oldest Brother Wilford. Our family always knew what really went down with Malcolm’s murder. I have always heard and read and admired Mr.Percy Sutton’s fearlessness,his steadfastness,charisma,humility and a thousand other attributes. I hate to even hear when GIANTS such as Mr. Sutton translate from this plane. Anybody who was in Malcolm X’s corner, you know that they were more than straight! God continue to bless his wife and family, David Dinkins,Charles Rangel,Attallah Shabazz and her family and countless others whom Mr. Percy Sutton advised and helped over the years. Eternal love to you!

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