David Dinkins, the only black and first mayor of New York City, has passed away at the age of 93.
The Associated Press quoted the New York Police Department as saying that their officers had been summoned to his home on Monday evening. And early evidence indicates that he died of natural causes.
Dinkins was born in New Jersey in 1927, the son of a barber, and taught at Howard University and Brooklyn Law School, and then served as city mayor from 1990 to 1993.
His successor, Rudy Giuliani, praised him on Twitter Monday night, saying that he had spent “a great deal of his life in the service of our great city. Everyone appreciates and respects this service.” According to the “BBC“, Giuliani offered condolences to David Dinkins’ family and New Yorkers who loved and supported him.
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
Growing up in New Jersey, Dinkins came to Harlem, where he rose to the ranks of local politics. The late man described the city when he took office as “a wonderful mosaic of ethnicity and religious belief, national origin and sexual orientation, of individuals whose families arrived yesterday and generations ago, via Ellis Island or Kennedy Airport or on buses, bound for the Port Authority.”
However, the city at that time was also plagued by several problems, among them a high rate of murder, crime, ethnic unrest, unemployment, and homelessness.
During his tenure, he revitalized Times Square and spent millions of dollars rehabilitating housing in some of the most deprived areas of the city, such as Harlem and the Bronx.
He also described Dinkins’ approach as being humble and disliking and was sometimes seen as soft. Because he was working quietly, in 1990 during his first year in office, the New York Post wrote, according to the Associated Press, a headline addressing him: “Dave do something!”
His later defeat at the polls is due to his handling of ethnic riots in Crown Heights and Brooklyn in 1991 after a black boy was accidentally killed by a car in the motorcade of an Orthodox Jewish religious leader.
In his 2013 diary, Denkins acknowledged some of the wrong steps he took during his tenure, including the inability to contain the riots in Crown Heights, according to what was reported by The New York Times. However, he said that the reason behind the slight difference in his victory in the mayoral election in 1989, then his defeat after 4 years and Giuliani’s victory over him, is that he was black.
“I think it was simple and just racism,” Dinkins said in his book The Mayor’s Life.