Dinkins, David N. (David Norman), 1927-2020

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David Norman Dinkins (July 10, 1927 – November 23, 2020) was an American politician, lawyer, and author. A member of the Democratic Party, he notably served as the 106th Mayor of New York City, the first African American to hold the position, from 1990 to 1993.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, he was raised there and in Harlem, graduating from Trenton Central High School before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. After his service, Dinkins graduated cum laude from Howard University with a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1950 and earned an LL.B. degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1956. While maintaining a private law practice from 1956 to 1975, Dinkins rose through the Democratic Party organization in Harlem, beginning at the Carver Democratic Club. Dinkins briefly represented the 78th District of the New York State Assembly in 1966. From 1972 to 1973, he was president of the New York City Board of Elections. He was nominated as a deputy mayor by Mayor Abraham D. Beame but was ultimately not appointed, instead serving as city clerk from 1975 to 1985. He was elected Manhattan borough president in 1985 on his third run for that office. On November 7, 1989, Dinkins was elected mayor of New York City, defeating three-term incumbent mayor Ed Koch and two others in the Democratic primary and Republican nominee Rudy Giuliani in the general election.

As Mayor, Dinkins was responsible for the establishment of numerous widely heralded cultural staples such as Fashion Week, Restaurant Week, and Broadway on Broadway. His administration initiated the revitalization of Times Square and secured an unprecedented deal to keep the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York for the next 99 years. This arrangement generated more annual financial benefits to the city than the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, and Rangers combined. Mayor Dinkins also instituted “Safe Streets, Safe City: Cops and Kids,” a comprehensive criminal justice plan that expanded opportunities for the children of New York and continued to reduce crime in the years that followed his term. In 1993, Dinkins lost to Republican Rudy Giuliani in a rematch of the 1989 election.

From 1994 until his death, Dinkins was a professor of professional practice at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Dinkins' radio program Dialogue with Dinkins aired on WLIB radio in New York City from 1994 to 2014. His memoirs, A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic, written with Peter Knobler, were published in 2013. Though he never attempted a political comeback, Dinkins remained somewhat active as an éminence grise in municipal politics. On November 23, 2020, just over a month after the death of his wife, Joyce Dinkins, David Dinkins died from unspecified natural causes at his home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Mercado, Edward, 1937-. Papers, 1924-2001. New York State Historical Documents (Albany, N.Y.)
referencedIn Reyes, Luis O. (Luis Orlando) 1944-. Papers, 1961-1998. New York State Historical Documents (Albany, N.Y.)
referencedIn Photographer File, ca. 1882-present New-York Historical Society
creatorOf David Dinkins Papers, 1941-2001, [Bulk Dates: 1985-1993]. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Eisenberg, Douglas,. David Dinkins campaign material, 1989-1993. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Papers, 1917-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Mercado, Edward 1937-. Papers, 1924-2001. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
referencedIn ILGWU. Gus Tyler papers, 1956-1996 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
referencedIn Andy Logan papers, 1923-2000 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Jones, J. Raymond (John Raymond), 1899-1991. J. Raymond Jones collection, 1962-1991. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Handler, Jerome S. Papers of Jerome S. Handler, 1991-1999. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Dinkins, David N. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1972-1973. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Allende, Petra. Papers, 1935-2002 ; bulk: 1970-2001. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
referencedIn Leslie Cagan Papers, 1966-2009 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Heningburg, Gus. Gus Heningburg Collection (Box #1-#8), 1967-2008. Newark Public Library, Main Library
referencedIn Rosensaft, Hadassah. Bergen-Belsen related records Letters of congratulations for Hadassah Rosensaft on her eightieth birthday letters. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
referencedIn Papers of Florynce Kennedy, (inclusive), (bulk), 1915-2004, 1947-1993 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Meier mss., 1927-2010 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Heningburg, Gus. Gus Heningburg Collection (Box #9-, 1967-2008. Newark Public Library, Main Library
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 National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Social Service Employees Union Photographs, Bulk, 1965-1995, 1952-2008 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Wagner, Robert F. (Ferdinad), 1910-1991. Robert F. Wagner Personal Papers. 1895-1993. LaGuardia Community College Library Media Resources Center, Library Media Resources Center
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Assistant President. ILGWU. Gus Tyler papers, 1956-1996. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Reyes, Luis O. (Luis Orlando) 1944-. Papers, 1961-1998. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
creatorOf Handler, Jerome S. Papers of Jerome S. Handler [manuscript], 1991-1999. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Caballero, Diana. Papers, 1967-1999. New York State Historical Documents (Albany, N.Y.)
referencedIn Lucille Lortel papers, 1902-2000 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
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 Allende, Petra. 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
employeeOf Columbia University corporateBody
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 Eisenberg, Douglas, person
associatedWith Gracie Mansion (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Handler, Jerome S. person
associatedWith Harlem Urban Development Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Harlem Urban Development Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Heningburg, Gus. person
associatedWith Horne, Lena. person
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Assistant President corporateBody
associatedWith Jackson, Jesse, 1941- person
associatedWith Jones, J. Raymond (John Raymond), 1899-1991. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Florynce 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
associatedWith Manhattan (New York, N.Y.). Office of the President corporateBody
correspondedWith Marietta Tree person
associatedWith Meier, Deborah person
associatedWith Mercado, Edward, 1937- person
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. corporateBody
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith New York (N.Y.). Campaign Finance Board. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (N.Y.). Office of the Mayor corporateBody
associatedWith New York State Legislative Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State Legislative Institute. corporateBody
memberOf New York (State). Legislature. Assembly corporateBody
associatedWith Paterson, Basil A. person
associatedWith Rangel, Charles B. person
associatedWith Reyes, Luis O. (Luis Orlando) 1944- person
associatedWith Rosensaft, Hadassah. 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 Wagner, Robert F. (Ferdinad), 1910-1991. person
associatedWith Wonder, Stevie. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
District of Columbia DC US
New York City NY US
Trenton NJ US
Subject
Race relations
Representative government and representation
Representative government and representation
Speeches, addresses, etc., American
Speeches, addresses, etc., American
Voting
Voting
Voter registration
Voter registration
African American mayors
African Americans
Political campaigns
Political campaigns
Democracy
Democracy
Election law
Election law
Elections
Elections
Municipal government
Municipal government
Occupation
Professors (teacher)
State Representative
Authors
City Government Official
Lawyers
Marines (soldiers)
Mayors
Activity

Person

Birth 1927-07-10

Death 2020-11-23

Male

Americans

Chinese,

Japanese,

Spanish; Castilian,

English

Information

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