09 January 2010



 My introduction to Percy Sutton was as a young woman during the mid-sixties, who was intrigued by that phenomenal individual Malcolm X also known as El Hajj-Malik-El-Shabazz.  Mr. Sutton at that time was an attorney and friend who stood with Malcolm during the dismal period that preceded his assassination and afterward supported his wife and children for many years.  His position to do so was not an easy one to make given the tumult of that period and Malcolm's controversial stances.  There was civil unrest in the north and south, Viet Nam protests, the women's movement and infiltration of progressive groups by government agencies.

This erudite gentleman who wore his genius and intellect well with a humility that sustained many years of mentorship and service to those who were marginalized by society has been lauded in many news outlets. http://www.visionaryproject.org/suttonpercy/
During his retirement years, Mr. Sutton continued to protest injustices.  I'm fond of an image of him in line protesting with that twinkle and resolve exuding from his eyes.  He was clearly a man who believed that it isn't over until it's over and only the acceleration of the aging process could impede his ability to do what he loved which is to fight for the rights of others to help ensure a just and equitable society.

Rev. Al Sharpton gave a moving tribute to Mr. Sutton citing that he hasn't died.....his legacy lives on and we as people of conscience must continue to struggle for all those principles and values he fought for in a valiant manner. He too, spoke of that light in Mr. Sutton's eyes when visiting him at the nursing home just before his death.

Attallah Shabazz the eldest of Malcolm X's daughters, spoke at the funeral and related the close relationship between her father and Mr. Sutton and how he had been an anchor during the stormy years after her father's death.  She was visibly shaken and asserted that "I will aim to be a symbol in your majesty by any means necessary".

While viewing parts of the funeral, I thought of the many heroes and "sheroes" who've made a significant impact on my life. They've shaped how I view the world and struggle for equality and economic parity for those marginalized by not only our society but on a global scale. The Honorable Percy Sutton is now a part of  that celestial Pantheon of Humanitarians.

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