CLEVELAND -- The Olivet Institutional Baptist Church was bursting with love and respect for Arnold Pinkney. His life was celebrated in a two-and-a-half-hour tribute of rousing song and stirring verbal eloquence.
A memorial of the renowned political strategist's life and achievements drew a huge crowd including a who's who of past and present leaders paying tribute to Pinkney and his political, business and civil rights achievements.
The crowd included Mayor Frank Jackson, former Mayor Mike White, Governor John Kasich, County Executive Ed FitzGerald, Senator Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Former Congressman Louis Stokes, Former County Commissioner TIm Hagan, County Executive Candidate Armond Budish and many more.
The Rev. Dr. Jawanza Colvin said, "Arnold Pinkney was a giant slayer...Arnold Pinkney had high aim."
Pinkney died Monday at the age of 84.
He was remembered for managing the campaigns of black leaders who won historic elections.
Colvin said he created "a blueprint...and an earthquake" in getting Carl Stokes elected the first black mayor of a major American city.
"If you know who Barack Obama is, if it weren't for Arnold Pinkney you wouldn't know Barack Obama, "Colvin said.
President Obama sent a tribute that was read. "Arnold was part of a generation that challenged our nation and lead the way seeking justice and equality for all."
Speaking on behalf of all officeholders, former Congressman Stokes said, " He opened doors that were unopened. He went where none had gone before. He helped others reach heights previously unreached."
Pinkney's love of sports, especially baseball was also remembered.
A favorite saying of his quoted in the service program was, " I'm rounding third and coming home."
Dr. Otis Moss Jr. admonished the worshipers, "You have his legacy, use it."