Dinkins, David N.

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BIOGHIST REQUIRED David N. Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey on July 10, 1927. In his early childhood, Dinkins moved with his mother to Harlem, but returned to Trenton to attend high school. After graduating he enrolled in Howard University in Washington, DC. World War II erupted and his studies were put on hold when he served in the United States Marine Corps. After serving as a Marine during World War II, he went on to obtain his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Howard University in 1950. At Howard, he became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the nation's first intercollegiate fraternity for African-American men. After graduating from Howard, he married Joyce Burrows, a former classmate. They moved to Harlem in 1951 and in 1956 he graduated from Brooklyn Law School. Dinkins practiced law in New York City from 1956 until 1975, while pursuing a career in politics.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Joyce Burrows grew up in a very political family. Her father was Daniel Burrows, a former assemblyman and district leader. Burrows introduced Dinkins to J. Raymond Jones, the "Harlem Fox", known leader of Tammany Hall, the New York Democratic County Organization in the 1960s. It was through Jones that Dinkins became an integral part of the Carver Democratic Club. During this period he mixed and aligned himself with an influential group of upcoming politicians that included Charles Rangel, Percy Sutton and Basil Paterson. Later, this group of young and ambitious politicoes became known as the "gang of four".

BIOGHIST REQUIRED In 1965, Dinkins was elected a New York State assemblyman. In this role he helped with the creation of the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge Program (SEEK) in the City University of New York. SEEK assisted low income students with attaining a college education by helping them with basic education and counseling. As the program grew it became clear that many students could not stay in college without additional income. As a result, Dinkins mobilized the New York Urban Coalition and the 100 Black Men, organizations with core missions to educate youth through a variety of support services providing part time and summer jobs for students through agreements with private businesses.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Dinkins served as president of the Board of Elections from 1972-1973, successfully establishing guidelines that facilitated and encouraged wider voter registration. He convinced the legislature to allow voter registration by mail in New York State. At the same time, he convinced corporations, community groups, schools and unions to make voter registration forms readily available to the public. He went on to serve as city clerk from 1975 until 1985.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED When Manhattan Borough President, Percy Sutton stepped down in 1977 to run for mayor of New York City, he encouraged Dinkins to run for the vacant position. Dinkins lost the first election to democratic candidate Andrew Stein, but won on his third attempt, in the 1985 campaign.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED In 1989 Dinkins ran for mayor, defeating three-term incumbent Mayor Ed Koch, for the Democratic nomination. In November, he beat republican candidate and United States attorney, Rudy Giuliani, winning the general election. On January 1, 1990, Dinkins was sworn in as the first African American mayor of New York City. Dinkins was considered moderate and soft spoken in leadership style. When he took office, New York City was experiencing the effects of an economic recession; racial strife, drug use and crime were on the rise. Dinkins celebrated New York City as a "gorgeous mosaic" referring to its ethnic diversity, while pledging to mend racial tensions. And as the federal government had cut monetary aid to the nation's cities, Dinkins' supporters pushed an agenda that focused on social services for a struggling city population.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Dinkins promises to mend the city's race and religious divisions had to be balanced against a dire financial deficit. Nonetheless, Dinkins focused on making New York City a better place for its residents. He concentrated on AIDS prevention-treatment, fighting drug abuse, and building better schools and affordable housing. "Safe Streets, Safe City" was his criminal justice plan, which reduced crime while at the same time providing youth programs, expanding opportunities for children. He is credited with the creation of the office of Special Commissioner of Investigation for Schools, and worked to create an all civilian police complaint review board.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED In 1991, a riot broke out between the Hasidic and Black communities in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. In its aftermath, some thought that the Hasidic community received favored treatment, while others thought that not enough force was used against the Black community. In 1993, Dinkins lost the mayoral race to Rudolph Giuliani. Political pundits, the day after, referred to the Crown Heights affair as central to his defeat.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED After serving his term as New York City mayor, Dinkins accepted a faculty appointment in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs; he also serves on its board of advisors. Mr. Dinkins chairs the New York City and Johannesburg Sister City Program, serves on the Advisory Board of Independent News and Media, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the steering committee of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.

From the guide to the David Dinkins Papers, 1941-2001, [Bulk Dates: 1985-1993]., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Mercado, Edward 1937-. Papers, 1924-2001. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
referencedIn Caballero, Diana. Papers, 1967-1999. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
referencedIn Leslie Cagan Papers, 1966-2009 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Papers of Florynce Kennedy, (inclusive), (bulk), 1915-2004, 1947-1993 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Reyes, Luis O. (Luis Orlando) 1944-. Papers, 1961-1998. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
referencedIn Papers, 1917-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf David Dinkins Papers, 1941-2001, [Bulk Dates: 1985-1993]. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Andy Logan papers, 1923-2000 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Mercado, Edward, 1937-. Papers, 1924-2001. New York State Historical Documents (Albany, N.Y.)
referencedIn Records of Organizations in the Executive Office of the President. 1963 - 2001. Moving Images Relating to Drug Control Policy During the Administration of President George H. W. Bush
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Lucille Lortel papers, 1902-2000 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Caballero, Diana. Papers, 1967-1999. New York State Historical Documents (Albany, N.Y.)
referencedIn Photographer File, ca. 1882-present New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Social Service Employees Union Photographs, Bulk, 1965-1995, 1952-2008 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn ILGWU. Gus Tyler papers, 1956-1996 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
referencedIn Reyes, Luis O. (Luis Orlando) 1944-. Papers, 1961-1998. New York State Historical Documents (Albany, N.Y.)
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The HistoryMakers Video Oral History with The Honorable David N. Dinkins The HistoryMakers
Relation Name
associatedWith Ali, Muhammad, 1942- person
associatedWith Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. corporateBody
associatedWith Ashe, Arthur. person
associatedWith Association of the Bar of the City of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Beame, Abraham D. (Abraham David), 1906-2001 person
associatedWith Caballero, Diana. person
associatedWith Cagan, Leslie person
associatedWith Clinton, Bill, 1946- person
associatedWith Clinton, Hillary Rodham. person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Community Service Society of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Cuomo, Mario Matthew. person
associatedWith D'Amato, Alfonse. person
associatedWith Gracie Mansion (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Harlem Urban Development Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Horne, Lena. person
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Assistant President corporateBody
associatedWith Jackson, Jesse, 1941- person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932-2009 person
associatedWith Kennedy, Florynce person
associatedWith Koch, Ed, 1924- person
associatedWith League of Women Voters of the City of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Legal Action Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Legal Aid Society (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Logan, Andy person
associatedWith Lortel, Lucille person
correspondedWith Marietta Tree person
associatedWith Mercado, Edward, 1937- person
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith New York State Legislative Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Paterson, Basil A. person
associatedWith Rangel, Charles B. person
associatedWith Reyes, Luis O. (Luis Orlando) 1944- person
associatedWith Saddler, Donald person
associatedWith Sierra Club corporateBody
associatedWith Social Service Employees Union. Local 371. corporateBody
associatedWith Stein, Andrew J. person
associatedWith Steinem, Gloria. person
associatedWith Sutton, Percy E. person
associatedWith Tyler, Gus. person
associatedWith Wonder, Stevie. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Staten Island (New York, N.Y.)
Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
New York (N.Y.)
Trenton (N.J.)
New York (N.Y.)
Ellis Island (N.J. and N.Y.)
Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
Municipal government--New York (State)
Voting--New York (State)
African Americans--Politics and government
Voter registration--New York (State)
Elections--New York (State)
Representative government and representation--New York (State)
Race relations
African American mayors
Democracy--United States
Speeches, addresses, etc., American--New York (State)
Political campaigns--New York (State)
Election law--New York (State)


Birth 1927-07-10

Birth 19270710



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