Percy Sutton set the standard for how to be and was the embodiment of excellence in everything he did. I was part of a film crew interviewing Mr. Sutton in the mid-1980’s and two things he said have stayed with me. He spoke about persistence saying that it took him sixty-two presentations of his business plan, and I forget if it was for a license or a loan, but the lesson was, if you know it’s right, keep at it. And teaching also about initiative and goal-setting, he said that if he were stripped of everything, and here he waved around his wonderful old office of wood and forest green, and he said if he were stripped of everything, he would build it again, starting by making and bagging cookies, and selling them on the street.
Percy Sutton was self-made style, class and a whole lot of smart, funny and smooth as silk. Someone on the crew at the time may even had said, “That brother is smooth.” If so, it would have been met with unanimous agreement. The next we saw him was at his L.A. station, where in a room of cool cats, in came Mr. Sutton, the coolest cat in the room. If Fred Astaire were a Black businessman, he’d be Percy Sutton. He was then, and as I later learned, always immaculately dressed. Both David Dinkins and Charlie Rangel speak of him as a mentor, and you can see it in their attire and how they conduct themselves, having had before them the gold standard to model after.
Percy Sutton was a Race man. He continually sought to empower African-Americans, in his politics, his businesses and the stands he took on social issues. Percy Sutton’s biography tells the story of the extraordinary life of a purposeful man. An African-American whose lifework empowered his people and set an example of what to aspire to for those who met him.
When you’ve seen a life lived like this, then you know it is true, the blood of kings runs in our veins. David Mark Greaves