Percy Sutton

In Harlem they called him the Big Rock: when it hit the water, the concentric waves kept going. Percy Sutton, who died Dec. 26 at 89, was a Renaissance man--a gentle, scholarly, tough social transformer; a long-distance runner; and a former Tuskegee Airman. In his long career as one of the nation's most influential black political and business figures, he made plenty of waves.

Percy, who was born in Texas and studied law at Columbia University and Brooklyn Law School on the GI Bill, became Manhattan borough president in 1966--making him the highest-ranking black official in the state at the time....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!