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Tue, 06.22.1909

G. J. Sutton, Civic Leader born

G. J. Sutton

*G.J. Sutton was born on this date in 1909.  He a Black civil leader and politician.  

His birth name was Garlington Jerome (G.J.) Sutton, the eighth of fifteen children. His parents Samuel and Lillian were both educators with his father being one of the first Blacks in Bexar County. He also served as principal of three high schools. All of his siblings graduated from college. His brothers included Percy Sutton former owner of Apollo Theater and previous attorney of Malcolm X and Oliver Sutton (judge on the New York Supreme Court).  

Sutton attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Wilberforce University in 1932. He later gained a degree in mortuary science from Cincinnati College.  He married Ms. Jeffrey Plummer and had one daughter, Jeffrey Dean Sutton. He later married Lou Nelle Sutton in 1958.  In 1938, Mr. Sutton joined his brother to operate Sutton and Sutton Mortuary. The mortuary is still in business today.  

Sutton served as a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention. When the Texas House of Representatives redrew their districts in 1972, Sutton became the first black official elected in San Antonio. He served in that capacity until his death on his birthday in 1976. With the encouragement of his best friend Rev. Claude Black, his wife Lou Nelle Sutton ran and succeeded her husband in the Texas House of Representatives.  The San Antonio Federal building is named in his honor.  

G.J. Sutton died on June 22, 1976.  He also founded Gates of Heaven Memorial Gardens Cemetery in San Antonio. He is buried alongside his wife at that cemetery in the family plot.

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