David Dinkins Wiki – Biography
David Dinkins was an American politician, lawyer, and author who served as the 106th Mayor of New York City from 1990 to 1993. He was the first and, to date, only African American to hold that office.
Before entering politics, Dinkins was among the more than 20,000 Montford Point Marines (trained 1942–1949; Dinkins’ service was 1945–1946). He graduated cum laude from Howard University and received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School (1956).
Dinkins began his political career by serving in the New York State Assembly in 1966, eventually advancing to Manhattan borough president before becoming mayor.
After leaving office, Dinkins joined the faculty of Columbia University.
He attended Trenton Central High School, where he graduated in 1945 in the top 10 percent of his class. Upon graduating, Dinkins attempted to enlist in the United States Marine Corps but was told that a racial quota had been filled. After traveling the Northeastern United States, he finally found a recruiting station that had not, in his words, “filled their quota for Negro Marines”; however, World War II was over before Dinkins finished boot camp. He served in the Marine Corps from July 1945 through August 1946, attaining the rank of private first class. Dinkins was among the Montford Point Marines awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
Dinkins graduated cum laude from Howard University with a degree in mathematics in 1950. He received his LL.B. from Brooklyn Law School in 1956.
Having grown up in New Jersey, he eventually came to Harlem, where he rose through the local politics ranks.
At the time he took office, Mr Dinkins described the city as a “gorgeous mosaic of race and religious faith, of national origin and sexual orientation, of individuals whose families arrived yesterday and generations ago, coming through Ellis Island or Kennedy Airport or on buses bound for the Port Authority”.
But the city at the time was also plagued by a number of problems, including a growing murder and crime rate, racial unrest, unemployment and homelessness.
During his time, he revitalised Times Square and spent millions of dollars to rehabilitate housing in some of the most deprived parts of the city, such as Harlem and the Bronx.
His approach was also described as low key and sometimes perceived as too soft.
“Dave, Do Something!” said one New York Post headline in 1990, during his first year in office, the AP reports.
And his consequent defeat at the ballot box is put down to his handling of the race riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 1991, after a young black boy was accidentally killed by a car in the motorcade of an Orthodox Jewish religious leader.
In a 2013 memoir, Mr Dinkins acknowledged missteps during his term, including a failure to contain the Crown Heights riots, the New York Times reports.
But he explained the narrowness of his victory in the 1989 mayoral election, and his defeat four years later to Mr Giuliani to the fact that he was black.
“I think it was just racism, pure and simple,” Mr Dinkins said in A Mayor’s Life: Governing New York’s Gorgeous Mosaic, written with Peter Knobler.
David Dinkins Age
David Dinkins has died at the age of 93-years-old.
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Family & Siblings
Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Sarah “Sally” Lucy and William Harvey Dinkins Jr. His mother was a domestic worker and his father a barber and real estate agent. He was raised by his father after his parents separated when he was six years old. Dinkins moved to Harlem as a child before returning to Trenton.
Wife & Children
Dinkins married Joyce (Burrows) Dinkins, the daughter of Daniel L. Burrows, in August 1953. They had two children. When Dinkins became mayor of New York City, Joyce retired from her position at the State Department of Taxation and Finance. The couple were members of the Church of the Intercession in New York City. Joyce died on October 11, 2020 at the age of 89.
Cause of Death
The first and only black mayor of New York City, David Dinkins, has died at the age of 93.
Officers were called to his home on Monday evening, New York police were quoted by the Associated Press (AP) as saying. Initial indications were that he died of natural causes.
The son of a barber born in 1927 in New Jersey, he studied at Howard University and Brooklyn Law School.
He later went on to serve as the city’s mayor from 1990 to 1993.
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.
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) November 24, 2020
His successor, Rudy Giuliani, paid tribute to Mr Dinkins on Twitter on Monday night, saying he had given a “great deal of his life in service to our great City. That service is respected and honoured by all”.