Ozell Sutton, 90, a longtime civil rights activist who was associated with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has died, his daughter said Sunday. Alta Sutton told the Associated Press that her father died at St. Joseph Hospital in Atlanta on Saturday and that the family had celebrated his birthday nearly a week ago.
"He was a wonderful husband and father," she said. "They don't make daddies like him. He was a gem, a rare pearl. He was such a tremendous force. He lived a great life."
Mr. Sutton marched for equal rights alongside King in Selma, Ala., in 1965 and was present at the Memphis hotel where King was assassinated in 1968.
In 2012, Mr. Sutton was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal as one of the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corp. He was also director of the U.S. Justice Department's Community Relations Service in Atlanta until he retired in 2003.
Mr. Sutton was general president of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha. He worked for Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller and as the director of the Governor's Council on Human Resources. He was a journalist for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He also played a role in helping enroll nine African American students at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957. - AP