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Basil Paterson and the Gang of Four: Power and politics in Harlem
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.
Sutton, seen here with his daughter and actress Lorey Hayes at an Apollo Theater fundraiser in 2005, was a civil rights activist and an attorney — his most famous client being Malcolm X, whose family he remained close to throughout his life. He led the effort to revitalize Harlem's Apollo after purchasing it in 1991. His Inner City Broadcasting Corp., a pioneering black-owned business, had radio stations around the country. He died in 2009 at the age of 89. (Credit: Getty Images/Paul Hawthorne)
David Dinkins was the first African-American to hold the mayor's office. During Dinkins' years in office, crime in the city began to decline though the public perceived that it was out of control. His administration was also criticized for its handling of the racially-charged Crown Heights riot in 1991. Dinkins is pictured here with Democratic Party leaders during his failed reelection campaign the following year. (Credit: Getty Images/AFP/Chris Wilkins)
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel is running for a 23rd term in the 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of northern Manhattan and the Bronx. In recent years, he has fought off scandals and for a long time was chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. (Credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong)
Basil Paterson was appointed secretary of state by then-Gov Hugh Carey in 1978. Paterson's son, future Gov. David Paterson, appeared with him during the announcement. Basil Paterson would later go on to work for Mayor Koch's administration as a deputy mayor. In an oral interview with Koch in the La Guardia and Wagner Archives, the former mayor was asked to comment on this image. "Well, Basil Paterson — there were four people who really were the leaders of Harlem. Everybody acknowledged that. Charlie Rangel, Basil Paterson, David Dinkins and Percy Sutton. They were the leaders." (Credit: Municipal Archives)