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Ozell Sutton

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Information about Ozell Sutton

Profile image of Ozell Sutton

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak, Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
What Is Required Of Thee Old Man? But To Do Justly. But To Love Mercy And But To Walk On Land.

Birthplace

Born:
12/13/1925
Birth Location:
Gould, Arkansas

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak, Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
What Is Required Of Thee Old Man? But To Do Justly. But To Love Mercy And But To Walk On Land.

Birthplace

Born:
12/13/1925
Birth Location:
Gould
See how Ozell Sutton is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Civil rights activist and community leader Ozell Sutton was born on December 13, 1925, on a plantation in southeast Arkansas in the city of Gould. Sutton‘s mother was a widow who raised eight children: six boys who worked as cotton sharecroppers, and two girls who cooked and did laundry. Despite grueling hours and backbreaking work on the cotton plantation, Sutton managed to graduate from Dunbar High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In 1944, Sutton became one the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. After surviving bloody conflicts from the Solomon Islands to Saipan, Sutton enrolled in Philander Smith College where he received his B.S. degree in 1950. Sutton became the first black reporter for the white-owned publication Arkansas Democrat; he also served as one of the escorts for the Little Rock Nine in 1957. In 1961, Sutton became director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations where he was part of the group that began the Community Relations Service (CRS). Sutton was given responsibility for the civil rights and opportunity groups that became known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1964.

Sutton’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement included his role as a field representative for the Community Relations Service. Sutton was at the Lorraine Hotel in the room next door to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Sutton then became Special Assistant to the late Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas. In 1972, Sutton directed the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service and was responsible for the department’s racial and ethnic conflict prevention and resolution efforts.

In 1990, Sutton served on the board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 1994, Sutton received the Distinguished Service Award from the United States Department of Justice. Sutton was a former national president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and continued to be a civil rights activist.

Sutton Passed away on December 19, 2015.

See how Ozell Sutton is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton talks about sharecropping
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton describes what he knows about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers his family's employer
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's dispute with the plantation owner
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton remembers Gould Colored School in Gould, Arkansas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton describes his education at Gould Colored School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls his siblings' migration to St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton remembers reciting poetry at Gould Colored School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's values and her influence
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers sustaining an injury while slaughtering hogs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls living with his mother in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton describes his work experience during high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls being drafted to the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton describes the segregated U.S. Marine Corps
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls attending Philander Smith College with Daisy Bates
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton recalls recruiting and organizing the Little Rock Nine
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton recalls his activities at Philander Smith College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls writing for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton describes his marriage to Joanna Freeman Sutton
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton remembers working as Winthrop Rockefeller's butler
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton recalls working at the Little Rock Housing Authority
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton remembers returning to work for Winthrop Rockefeller
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls directing the Arkansas Council on Human Relations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton remembers attending the March on Washington
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls the deaths of Medgar Evers and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton recalls how the Civil Rights Act changed in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton recalls his involvement in the Community Relations Service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls the lack of funds for the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls Winthrop Rockefeller's generosity
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton remembers the second Selma to Montgomery March
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton recalls being hired by the Community Relations Service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls investigating discrimination in New Orleans' French Quarter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the New Orleans mayor about discrimination
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls investigating the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls accompanying Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Birmingham jail
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls his strategic use of his job title
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes the aftermath of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers assisting demonstration organizer Bayard Rustin
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting a judge against his employer's wishes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers serving as Winthrop Rockefeller's special assistant
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls appointing African Americans to the Arkansas government
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls becoming a Community Relations Service regional director
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls orchestrating an escape from the Ku Klux Klan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls violence between African Americans and the Ku Klux Klan in Decatur, Alabama
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers requesting protection from Governor George Wallace
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls conducting a mediation in Decatur, Alabama
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers protecting the civil rights of the Ku Klux Klan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls an encounter with black militants in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the Ku Klux Klan in Wrightsville, Georgia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls mediating a conflict for the Atlanta Police Department
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton describes the resolution of the Atlanta police hiring conflict
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls Hosea Williams' march in Forsyth County, Georgia
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls securing protection for the march in Forsyth County
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton describes the history of the Community Relations Service
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton remembers mediating a conflict at Clark Atlanta University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls conducting mediations after the Rodney King riots
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton talks about his public speaking engagements
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton describes his involvement in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls organizing a conference on the issue of missing children
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls founding the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes his fundraising with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers organizing a 100 Black Men, Inc. national conference
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton talks about his books
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton describes his wife and children
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton shares a message for future generations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton remembers his mother's encouragement
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton narrates his photographs