Percy Sutton a quiet giant…gone

December 28, 2009 bsmith101
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There are generals who pass by and we never take notice of them.   They go quietly yet often times they were the ones who stood in the path… made the right decision… yet got none of the glory.  Percy Sutton was such a man.

In a chance meeting in a New York City elevator…I got on not realizing that I was going to be in the company of a king.  When  he got on I was nearing the floor of  the executive office of  Inner City Broadcasting.  I was on my way to try for…I don’t know what attempt on my part to get  in to see the ‘chief rocker’ Frankie Crocker…as I was trying to get him to hire me for  an air shift…meaning a job as a radio announcer on WBLS. 

When he got on we were a couple floors down from the main corporate floor of  Inner City Broadcasting…in a building he owned along with the radio station  operating in that building, WBLS and WLIB…which were located at the time on 2nd Avenue.

He was tall and striking in his appearance…but what struck me more than anything was how much of a gentleman he was.  We conversed, him and me…as if  he were nobody special…and he called me “My Dear”…in that voice that he had.    He spoke to me  in such a way that I felt special just being in his presence…this quiet giant  and owner of  not only 2  highly prominate radio stations in New York City…but plenty of other real estate holdings about the city…including a law firm…and the world famous Apollo Theater.   And somehow through it all he managed to become Manhattan Borough President, and a civil rights activist.

Though he could have sat back and kicked up his heels and thought-

“Oh, how great I am.”

He never did that…he never rested.   Never got in a comfort zone.  Maybe, it was that he grew up being  only 1 generation away from slavery…as his father had been a slave.  Or maybe it had been that he had been  the 15th and last child born into his family…and most of whom all became lawyers. 

How could that have happened?

With a father just coming up out of slavery and him being a man having such a very large family (which during those times was not an uncommon thing)…but raising children in the  racist atmosphere  of   the latter 1800’s  into the mid 1930’s  and 40’s  and the backward thinking of  many in a state like Texas…I am sure  aided in Mr. Sutton’s  political choices and his diligent work as black leader…and the shaker and  mover  he was later to become  in New  York City. 

I have no doubt that it was his roots…that created the core of who he was…and the things he worked to achieve.   A person who was not afraid to put his money where his mouth and passion was concerning his people.  Often digging into his own pocket to give…invest…encourage…

I recall calling him and talking him about a business venture that I wanted him to get involved in…something that I was trying to do and take to the next level.   He actually got on the line with me and offered me several positive suggestions…challenging me in what I was looking to do.  He did not rush me off the phone…but gave me the benefit of  his long and highly profound expertise.

I have called a lot of people when seeking investors and

others…or expertise regarding projects I have been working on.  Not many of them even took the time to come to the line…but it didn’t stop me from trying.  But when they did and shared me as Percy Sutton…all those other  calls were worth my trying  just to finally get to someone  like Percy Sutton…who took the time to hear me and speak into me wisdom…and share  knowledge and some of  his  business savvy with me.  

I never forgot that meeting…of me and Percy Sutton alone in an elevator heading up to the executive office.   And I had almost forgotten that phone call…I am glad I took the time to call him…and remembered how gracious he was to me.

Mr. Sutton passed the day after Christmas…just days after celebrating his 89th birthday.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121947414

http://www.blackstarnews.com/?c=135&a=1187

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/28/nyregion/28sutton.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/28/nyregion/28sutton.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

http://www.inc.com/magazine/20070501/hidi-sutton.html

I spent Christmas quietly.   And all through the day I kept getting phone calls.  

It was such a pleasure that so many had throught to call me wishing me  ‘Merry Christmas.’   It was as great as them giving me gifts for my Christmas.  I loved it.

Last night it rain and rain.  Thank goodness it was snow or I would probably be outside right now still shoveling it.   But I love the 2ab-the-bishop-wifecoversnow…it’s winter.   So, it comes with ther territory.

Hope you had a safe and joyous Christmas.  Mine was.   And though the furnace is still out…God is keeping me.

Well, we are moving to the end of  the year…just a few more days.  And since coming into 2000…we have seen many changes…suffered some great losses…but yet God is good. 

View Bernadine Smith's profile on FiledBy“Happy New Years.”

I hope that  you and your family   had a very merry Christmas and a good and safe New Years. 

I am looking forward to some great things happening in my life this year.   Each year has been great…and our family is growing closer together again.  I hope it is so with yours too.

 THE BISHOP’S WIFE  is now on sale…CLICK this LINK to purchase my book.  You do not need a paypal account to purchase, and you can purchase using a debit card.  Thank you. 

Well, God bless



Thank you for reading this blog…and  my others.  Please be sure to continue to share this blog site with your family, co-workers and all your friends“pass it on…”  www.bsmith101.wordpress.com  ©2009

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Entry Filed under: Cities,Clark Sisters,Dealing with loss,death,Frankie Crocker,holidays,Kirk Franklin,lost of love ones,New York,Percy Sutton,Radio Industry,wisdom,youtube

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lavonia Stalcup  |  April 4, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

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    • 2. bsmith101  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm

      Thank you…I am so happy that you like the site so much. I hope it lives up to your liking.


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