Hundreds Celebrate Life of Arnold Pinkney

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Arnold Pinkney was an architect -- a man who helped build the careers of a generation of leaders.

Saturday, many of those same leaders, joined by hundreds of family and friends, said goodbye to Pinkney and celebrated his extraordinary life.

A memorial service was held at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. Pinkney died last Monday at the age of 85.

During a remarkable life and career, he managed the Cleveland mayoral campaign for Carl Stokes, who became the first black mayor of a major city in the United States.

He also managed Louis Stokes' successful run for Congress and Jessie Jackson's historic 1984 bid for the presidency.

It was Pinkney who helped develop the "Get Out and Vote Strategy" that was subsequently replicated in cities across the country.

Over 1,000 people attended the two and a half hour service, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, former Mayor Mike White, former Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and current County Executive Ed Fitzgerald.

The Rev. Otis Moss praised Pinkney as a man whose contributions will endure.

"History will respond with clarity and reality," said Moss. "You have his legacy. Use it."

President Barack Obama also sent Pinkney's family a message that read in part:

"Arnold was part of a generation that challenged the conscience of our nation, and moved us toward justice and equality for all. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones."

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