Who was David Dinkins? New York City’s first and only Black mayor dies at 93: 'A giant among men'

Dinkins's health aide discovered him unresponsive at his Lenox Hill apartment on Monday, November 23 night

                            Who was David Dinkins? New York City’s first and only Black mayor dies at 93: 'A giant among men'
David Dinkins (Getty Images)

New York City’s first and only Black mayor David Dinkins has died at the age of 93. An NBC New York report stated that two senior NYPD officials confirmed to the news organization that Dinkins's health aide discovered him unresponsive at his Lenox Hill apartment on Monday, November 23 night. As reported, he apparently died of natural causes. The news of the former mayor’s death comes a little more than a month after his wife, Joyce Dinkins, passed away.

As mentioned in a NBC New York report, he was born in Trenton, New Jersey. Dinkins briefly practiced law in New York City before he began his career in politics as a district leader and was elected as a Harlem state Assemblyman in 1966. He went on to serve as President of the Board of Elections and City Clerk before winning election as Manhattan Borough President in 1985. He had also served in the Marines in Korea and ran for mayor in 1989. Dinkins defeated Mayor Edward I Koch and he went on to defeat Rudy Giuliani by one of the narrowest electoral margins in New York City history: 47,000 votes.

Former Mayor of New York City David Dinkins speaks during the I Have A Dream Foundation "Spirit of the Dream" Gala at Gotham HallCicely Tyson on June 9, 2015 in New York City. (Getty Images)

During his term as mayor from 1990 to 1993, Dinkins vowed to be “mayor of all the people of New York,” and declared: “We are all foot soldiers on the march to freedom.” The New York Post states that his time in office was marked by widespread crime and racial unrest. In the face of the turmoil, he led the city and was respected even by his political opponents and he was an admired figure even after his tenure was long over.

After office, Dinkins joined Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs as a professor in public Policy in 1994.
As news of his death spread, tributes started pouring in on Twitter for Dinkins. Attorney Giuliani wrote: “I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mayor David Dinkins, and to the many New Yorkers who loved and supported him. He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City. That service is respected and honored by all.” A social media user tweeted, “My condolences goes out to the Dinkins Family. My brotha David Dinkins Jr your father was a wonderful man a trailblazer it was a pleasure meeting him the times we crossed paths.”

Deputy Metro Editor/Politics of NYT, Dean Chang said, “David Dinkins was a trailblazer, a genuine and kind man who had the best interests of New York City at heart. He was the first city mayor I ever covered, and inherited a city that few now would find recognizable. The last word, via @samrob12.” Another user commented, “Rest in peace, former Mayor David Dinkins of New York City - who made history not only as the first Black mayor of NYC, but as a mayor who was a caretaker to a city riddled with racial unrest, crime, and fiscal turmoil. Thank you.” One said, “We have lost a giant among men. #DavidDinkins, the first Black mayor of NYC was the embodiment of class, dignity and political intellect. The world is a better place because he lived. Farewell, Dear Brother. Transcendent art thou!”











In a 2009 article, The New York Times had listed some of his achievements. Some of these include his representatives had played an important role in negotiating the cleanup and revitalization of Times Square and persuading the Walt Disney Corporation to rehabilitate an old 42nd Street theater. The article also states he joined with Gov Mario M Cuomo and dedicated money into assisted housing for the mentally ill homeless. Due to this, the city’s shelter population declined and in 1991 it stood at less than 20,000. 

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