The influence of the Gang of Four stretched from Harlem to City Hall and the U.S. Congress over several decades. Their decisions shaped not only politics, but also entertainment and broadcasting.

Among them was the highly esteemed Basil Paterson, who died on Wednesday night at the age of 87. He had served in the state Senate in the 1960s, as deputy mayor under the late Ed Koch and as secretary of New York state. The other members are U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, now in his 22nd term; former Mayor David Dinkins; and the late Percy Sutton, a civil rights activist and former attorney for Malcolm X.