always open  
DORIS Banner
HeadlineThis is the News You Requested For: "CITY HALL LIBRARY NOTES"

  City Hall Library Notes, February 2010


By Christine Bruzzese

Percy Sutton, Adam Clayton Powell III, Deputy Mayor Paul Gibson, Manhattan Councilman Fred Samuel.February has been designated Black History Month in honor of African-American culture and achievements. This article features some related resources in the City Hall Library collection.

Several books deal with the black population and various issues they face as citizens of New York. In the Black: A History of African-Americans on Wall Street by Gregory S. Bell tells the story of African-Americans who set out to establish themselves in the security and investment banking fields despite prejudice, lack of funds and many other barriers in the time period of 1920 to today. Caribbean New York: Black Immigrants and the Politics of Race by Philip Kasinitz examines the role and identity of the West Indian community in New York.

David Dinkins, Heyward Davenport with wife and daugther, Percy Sutton, Mayor Abraham Beame, Deputy Mayor Paul Gibson.The Mayor's Commission on Black New Yorkers was established by Mayor Koch in January 1986 and completed their study in November 1988. The Commission found that black New Yorkers tended to be less educated and more economically disadvantaged than whites. This report offers possible solutions and also contains useful statistical information on education, economic development, poverty and employment.

Biographies of such prominent African-Americans as Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Shirley Chisholm, Constance Baker Motley and J. Raymond Jones are available to the researcher. Consult the biographical and clippings files for information on African-American politicians and officials as well as history, culture and life in New York City.


A Pioneering African-American City Official

Born November 24, 1920, to a father who began life in slavery, Percy Sutton grew up in San Antonio, Texas. After serving as intelligence officer in World War II, Sutton attended law school in New York City, supporting his family by working two jobs. Following additional military service during the Korean War, he opened a law practice in Harlem. In the 1950s and 1960s Sutton became active in the civil rights movement and political campaigns, finally winning a State Assembly seat in 1966. Later that year, the City Council selected Sutton to replace Constance Baker Motley as Manhattan Borough President after she resigned to accept appointment as a federal judge. In his private law practice Sutton represented the estate of Malcolm X, arranging for his burial at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, when every other local cemetery refused the remains of the assassinated black activist.

In the November 1966 election, Manhattan Borough voters selected Sutton to serve out Motley's term; he went on to win two additional terms as Borough President. After an unsuccessful attempt to run for Mayor, in 1977, Sutton returned to private law practice and ownership of Inner City Broadcasting, a multimedia company with the Amsterdam News, and black-themed radio stations and cable franchises under its umbrella. A pioneer and leader in civil rights, politics and business, Percy Sutton died on December 26, 2009.

The City Hall Library collection includes annual reports produced by Sutton as Borough President of Manhattan and the Municipal Archives maintains records from the office of the Borough President during his two-terms of service.


Join NYC's efforts to aid the victims of the earthquake in Haiti:

Donate online or by phone: 212-788-7794

Or make check payable to: Mayor's Fund
and mail to:
Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City
One Centre Street, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10007
Note: Haiti Relief

For more info on the City Hall Library, please visit our website.

To unsubscribe please go to this link:

Comment on this news service: