World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

David Dinkins

Article Id: WHEBN0000359900
Reproduction Date:

Title: David Dinkins  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani, New York City mayoral election, 1993, Crime in New York City, New York City mayoral election, 1989
Collection: 1927 Births, 20Th-Century American Episcopalians, African-American Episcopalians, African-American Mayors, African-American Politicians, American Military Personnel of World War II, American Socialists, Brooklyn Law School Alumni, Columbia University Faculty, Howard University Alumni, Living People, Manhattan Borough Presidents, Mayors of New York City, Members of the Democratic Socialists of America, Members of the New York State Assembly, New York Democrats, People from Trenton, New Jersey, United States Marines, United States Presidential Electors
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

David Dinkins

David Dinkins
106th Mayor of New York City
In office
January 1, 1990 – December 31, 1993
Preceded by Ed Koch
Succeeded by Rudy Giuliani
23rd Borough President of Manhattan
In office
January 1, 1986 – December 31, 1989
Preceded by Andrew Stein
Succeeded by Ruth Messinger
Member of the New York State Assembly
from District 78
In office
Preceded by New district
Succeeded by Edward A. Stevenson, Sr.
Personal details
Born David Norman Dinkins
(1927-07-10) July 10, 1927
Trenton, New Jersey
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Joyce Burrows
Alma mater Howard University
Brooklyn Law School
Religion Episcopalian
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1945–1946
Battles/wars World War II

David Norman Dinkins (born July 10, 1927) is an American politician 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 served in the US Marine Corps, graduated cum laude from Howard University,[1] and received a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He served as Manhattan borough president[2] before becoming mayor. Under the Dinkins administration, crime in New York City decreased more dramatically and more rapidly than at any time in previous New York City history.[3] After leaving office Dinkins was named professor of public affairs at Columbia University. Dinkins was a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Tennis Association, and a member of The Jazz Foundation of America. He serves on the boards of the New York City Global Partners, the Children's Health Fund (CHF), the Association to Benefit Children and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (NMCF). Dinkins is also on the Advisory Board of Independent News & Media and the Black Leadership Forum, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.[4]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Political career 2
  • Mayoralty 3
  • 1993 election 4
    • Citywide tickets on which Dinkins ran 4.1
  • Later career 5
  • Memoirs 6
  • Personal life 7
  • Humanitarian works 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Early life and education

Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Sally and William Harvey Dinkins, Jr. His mother was a domestic worker and his father a barber and real estate agent.[1] He was raised by his father, his parents having separated when he was six years old.[5] Dinkins moved to Harlem as a child but returned to Trenton and attended Trenton Central High School, where he graduated in 1945 in the top 10 percent of his class. After graduation, 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". He became a Marine, but World War II was over before Dinkins finished boot camp.[6] He served in the Marine Corps from 1945 through 1946,[7][8] and was among the Montford Point Marines awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Senate and House of Representatives.[6]

Dinkins graduated cum laude from Howard University[1] with a degree in mathematics. He received a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.[8]

Political career

Dinkins rose through the Harlem, beginning at the Carver Democratic Club under the aegis of J. Raymond Jones,[1][9] and became part of an influential group of African American politicians that included Denny Farrell, Percy Sutton, Basil Paterson, and Charles Rangel; the latter three together with Dinkins were known as the "Gang of Four".[10] As an investor, Dinkins was one of fifty African American investors who helped Percy Sutton found Inner City Broadcasting Corporation in 1971.

Dinkins was a member of the New York State Assembly (78th D.) in 1966. He was nominated as a Deputy Mayor by Mayor Abraham D. Beame but was ultimately not appointed. Dinkins was President of the Board of Elections from 1972 to 1973, and City Clerk from 1975 to 1985.[11] He was elected Manhattan borough president in 1985 on his third run for that office. Dinkins was elected mayor of New York City on November 7, 1989, defeating three-term incumbent mayor Ed Koch and two others in the Democratic primary and Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani in the general election. Dinkins came to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, seeking his blessing and endorsement.[12]

Dinkins was elected in the wake of a corruption scandal that involved several New York City Democratic leaders. Mayor Koch, the presumptive Democratic nominee, was politically damaged by the corruption in his administration and his handling of racial issues, and among the candidates Dinkins was his greatest challenger.[13] Additionally, the fact that Dinkins is African American helped him avoid criticism he was ignoring the black vote by campaigning to whites.[14] While a large turnout of African American voters was important to his election, Dinkins campaigned throughout the city.[1] Dinkins' campaign manager was noted political consultant William Lynch, Jr., who became one of his First Deputy Mayors.


Dinkins entered office pledging racial healing, and famously referred to New York City's demographic diversity as a "gorgeous mosaic."[15] Under Dinkins' Safe Streets, Safe Cities program, crime in New York City decreased more dramatically and more rapidly, both in terms of actual numbers and percentage, than at any time in modern New York City history.[16] The rates of most crimes, including all categories of violent crime, made consecutive declines during the last 36 months of his four-year term, ending a 30-year upward spiral and initiating a trend of falling rates that continued beyond his term.[3] Despite the actual abating of crime, Dinkins was hurt by the perception that crime was out of control during his administration.[17][18] Dinkins also initiated a hiring program that expanded the police department nearly 25%. The New York Times reported, "He obtained the State Legislature’s permission to dedicate a tax to hire thousands of police officers, and he fought to preserve a portion of that anticrime money to keep schools open into the evening, an award-winning initiative that kept tens of thousands of teenagers off the street."[18][19]

During his final days in office, Dinkins made last-minute negotiations with the sanitation workers, presumably to preserve the public status of garbage removal. Rudy Giuliani, who defeated Dinkins in the 1993 mayoral race, blamed Dinkins for a "cheap political trick" when Dinkins planned the resignation of Victor Gotbaum, Dinkins' appointee on the Board of Education, thus guaranteeing Gotbaum's replacement six months in office.[20] Dinkins also signed a last-minute 99-year lease with the USTA National Tennis Center. By negotiating a fee for New York City based on the event's gross income, the Dinkins administration made a deal with the US Open that brings more economic benefit to the City of New York each year than the New York Yankees, New York Mets, New York Knicks and New York Rangers combined.[1] The city's revenue-producing events Fashion Week, Restaurant Week and Broadway on Broadway were all created under Dinkins.

Dinkins's term was marked by polarizing events such as the Family Red Apple boycott, a boycott of a Korean-owned grocery in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and the 1991 Crown Heights riot. Lemrick Nelson was acquitted of murdering Yankel Rosenbaum during the riot. Regarding the Nelson verdict, Dinkins said, "I have no doubt that in this case the criminal-justice system has operated fairly and openly."[21] Later he wrote in his memoirs, "I continue to fail to understand that verdict."[1]

A 2009 report in The New York Times looking back at the Dinkins administration summarized its achievements, noting:

  • Significant accomplishments in lowering New York City's crime rate and increasing the size of the New York Police Department, and the hiring of Raymond W. Kelly as police commissioner;
  • The cleanup and revitalization of Times Square, including persuading the Walt Disney Corporation to rehabilitate an old 42nd Street theater;
  • Major commitment to rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in northern Harlem, the South Bronx and Brooklyn despite significant budget constraints—more housing rehabilitated in a single term than Mr. Giuliani did in two terms;
  • The USTA lease, which in its final form New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called "the only good athletic sports stadium deal, not just in New York but in the country";
  • Mental-health facility initiatives; and
  • Policies and actions that decreased the size of the city's homeless shelter population to its lowest point in 20 years.[18]

1993 election

In 1993, Dinkins lost to Republican Rudy Giuliani in a rematch of the 1989 election. Dinkins earned 48.3 percent of the vote, down from 51 percent in 1989.[22] One factor in his loss was his perceived indifference to the plight of the Jewish community during the Crown Heights riot.[23] Another was a strong turnout for Giuliani in Staten Island; a referendum on Staten Island's secession from New York was placed on the ballot that year by Governor Mario Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Dinkins defeated Giuliani handily in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, but Giuliani's margin in the other two boroughs was large enough to win the election.

Citywide tickets on which Dinkins ran

1989 NYC Democratic ticket
1993 NYC Democratic ticket

Later career

Dinkins is a Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.[24] Since 1995, Columbia has hosted the annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum. Forum keynote speakers have included prominent New York and national leaders such as Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Rangel.

Although he has not attempted a political comeback, Dinkins has remained somewhat active in politics, and his endorsement of various candidates, including Mark J. Green in the 2001 mayoral race, was well-publicized. He supported Democrats Fernando Ferrer in the 2005 New York mayoral election, Bill Thompson in 2009, and Bill de Blasio in 2013.[25][26] During the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, Dinkins endorsed and actively campaigned for Wesley Clark.[27] In the campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Dinkins served as an elected delegate from New York for Hillary Clinton.[28]


Dinkins' memoirs,

New York Assembly
New district New York State Assembly
78th District

Succeeded by
Edward A. Stevenson, Sr.
Political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Stein
Borough President of Manhattan
Succeeded by
Ruth Messinger
Preceded by
Ed Koch
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Rudy Giuliani
  • Finding Aid for the David N. Dinkins Papers housed at Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library
  • David Dinkins's oral history video excerpts at The National Visionary Leadership Project
  • , PublicAffairs BooksA Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic
  • Conversations with Allan Wolper, June 9, 2010, where he discussed his legacy as the first African-American Mayor of New York City.

External links

  • The Power of the Mayor: David Dinkins, 1990-1993, Chris McNickle (2012), Transaction Publishers

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Dinkins, David N.; Knobler, Peter (2013). A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-61039-301-0.
  2. ^ "Dinkins Seriously Considers Entering the Race for Mayor" Lynn, Frank, The New York Times, December 8, 1988
  3. ^ a b Langan, Patrick A.; Matthew R. Durose (December 2003). "The Remarkable Drop in Crime in New York City" (PDF). International Conference on Crime. Retrieved November 15, 2007. According to NYPD statistics, crime in New York City took a downturn starting around 1990 that continued for many years, shattering all the city’s old records for consecutive-year declines in crime rates. (see Appendix tables 1 and 2)
  4. ^ a b [2] USTA Board of Directors, David N. Dinkins, Director at Large, biography
  5. ^ McQuiston, John T. (October 20, 1991). "William Dinkins, Mayor's Father And Real Estate Agent, Dies at 85". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b  
  7. ^ "David Dinkins Biography – 1190 WLIB – Your Praise & Inspiration Station". Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Cheers, D. Michael. "Mayor of 'The Big Apple': 'nice guy' image helps David N. Dinkins in building multi-ethnic, multiracial coalition – New York City", Ebony (magazine), February 1990. Accessed September 4, 2008.
  9. ^ "J. Raymond Jones, Harlem Kingmaker, Dies at 91" Fraser, C. Gerald, The New York Times, June 11, 1991
  10. ^ Schapiro, Rich, "Harlem 'trailblazer', former World War II Tuskegee Airmen [sic] Percy Sutton dies", New York Daily News, December 27, 2009.
  11. ^ "NYC 100 – NYC Mayors – The First 100 Years". Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  12. ^ Ehrlich, M. Avrum, The Messiah of Brooklyn: Understanding Lubavitch Hasidim Past and Present, (KTAV Publishing, January 2005) p. 109. ISBN 0-88125-836-9
  13. ^ Lankevich, George J. (2002). New York City: A Short History. NYU Press via pp. 237–238, paragraph 3. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  14. ^ Thompson, J. Phillip, "David Dinkins' Victory in New York City: The Decline of the Democratic Party Organization and the Strengthening of Black Politics", Political Science & Politics via, June 1990.
  15. ^  
  16. ^ Dinkins, David N.; Knobler, Peter (2013). A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-61039-301-0. Riggio, Len, Foreword, page xi
  17. ^  
  18. ^ a b c Powell, Michael (October 25, 2009). "Another Look at the Dinkins Administration, and Not by Giuliani". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  19. ^ Roberts, Sam (August 7, 1994). "As Police Force Adds to Ranks, Some Promises Still Unfulfilled". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2007. 
  20. ^ Siegel, Fred, The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York, and the Genius of American Life (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2005) p. 90
  21. ^ Taylor, John (December 7, 1992). "The Politics of Grievance: Dinkins, the Blacks, and the Jews". New York Magazine. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  22. ^ Purdum, Todd S. (November 3, 1993). "Giuliani ousts Dinkins by a thin margin ...". The New York Times. 
  23. ^ Shapiro, Edward S. (2006). Crown Heights: Blacks, Jews, and the 1991 Brooklyn Riot. Waltham, Massachusetts:  
  24. ^ "SIPA: Faculty David N. Dinkins". Columbia University. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  25. ^ "William Thompson picks up a pair of key endorsements" Fermino, Jennifer, Daily News (New York), June 3, 2013
  26. ^ "The Ghosts of Mayors Past" Roberts, Sam, The New York Times, September 29, 2013
  27. ^ "David Dinkins supports Wesley Clark, to join him in N.H.", USA Today, Associated Press, January 21, 2004
  28. ^ "Reporters Notebook: New Yorkers make their mark on Maryland politics". The Gazette. Gaithersburg, MD. October 1, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  29. ^ "A Mayor's Life"Trentonian David Dinkins tells all in Trenton (NJ) Trentonian, September 21, 2013
  30. ^ "Their Honors" Roberts, Sam, The New York Times, Sunday Book Review, November 22, 2013
  31. ^ "Praise Team: On-Air Schedule". WLIB. January 6, 2009. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. 
  32. ^ "Dinkins hospitalized". New York: WNYW. October 31, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Hon. David Dinkins", Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  34. ^ McMullan, Patrick, May 10, 2009. "The Jazz Foundation of America's 'A great night in Harlem' benefit" (photo archive), May 29, 2008. Event at the Apollo Theater, NYC. Accessed: May 10, 2009.


See also

Dinkins sat on the Board of Directors and in 2013 was on the Honorary Founders Board of The Hurricane Katrina. He serves on the boards of the Children’s Health Fund (CHF), the Association to Benefit Children and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF). Dinkins is also Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.[4]

Humanitarian works

Dinkins was hospitalized in New York on October 31, 2013, for treatment of pneumonia.[32]

Dinkins is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and Sigma Pi Phi ("the Boule"), the oldest collegiate and first professional Greek-letter fraternities, respectively, established for African Americans.

Dinkins is married to Joyce Dinkins (née Burrows). They have two children. The couple are members of the Church of the Intercession in New York City. Dinkins' radio program "Dialogue with Dinkins" can be heard Saturday mornings on WLIB radio in New York City.[31]

Personal life

[30][29], were published in 2013.Peter Knobler written with [1]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.