African-American lawyer and politician Percy Sutton has died at age 89.

Sutton was born the son of an ex-slave in Texas and went on to become one of New York City's most powerful voices.

As a young man, Sutton hid on a passenger train to make his way to New York. He became a lawyer after  serving with the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen Air Force unit in World War II.

His most famous legal client was controversial black Muslim leader Malcolm X.

Sutton also served in the New York state assembly, and as president of Manhattan, the largest of New York City's five boroughs, making him one of the city's most powerful politicians.

Sutton also owned a string of radio stations and bought Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater, saving the landmark building from destruction.

President Barack Obama issued a statement saying Sutton's fight for civil rights and career as an entrepreneur made the rise of countless young African Americans possible.

Some information for this report provided by AP.