David Dinkins, New York City’s first and only Black mayor, has died at 93.
Two senior NYPD officials confirmed to NBC New York that Dinkins’ health aide found him unresponsive in his Lenox Hill apartment Monday night, having apparently died of natural causes. The former mayor died a little more than a month after his wife, Joyce Dinkins, passed away.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Dinkins briefly practicing law in New York City before he began his career in politics as a district leader and was elected a Harlem state Assemblyman in 1966. He went on to serve as President of the Board of Elections and City Clerk before winning election as Manhattan Borough President in 1985.
Dinkins, who also served in the Marines in Korea, ran for mayor in 1989 and defeated Mayor Edward I. Koch and he went on to defeat Rudy Giuliani by the narrowest electoral margin in New York City history: 47,000 votes.
Joyce Dinkins, the former first lady of New York City, has died at 89.
During his term as mayor from 1990 to 1993, Dinkins vowed to be “mayor of all the people of New York,” and declared: “We are all foot soldiers on the march to freedom.”
He once called the Big Apple the “gorgeous mosaic.” The former mayor lead the crackdown on violence crime, revitalization of Times Square, established Restaurant Week and Fashion Week.
Former mayor and President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Giuliani extended his condolences to Dinkins’ family early Tuesday in a tweet.
“He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City. That service is respected and honored by all,” Giuliani wrote.
As the first Black mayor of the city, Dinkins inspired others to get into politics just as his father-in-law Daniel Burrows, a businessman who became involved in Democratic politics and was among the first Black men to serve in the state Assembly, inspired him. Among them was New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“The example Mayor David Dinkins set for all of us shines brighter than the most powerful lighthouse imaginable. For decades, Mayor Dinkins lead with compassion and an unparalleled commitment to our communities. His deliberative and graceful demeanor belied his burning passion for challenging the inequalities that plague our society,” James wrote in a statement.
“Personally, Mayor Dinkins’ example was an inspiration to me from my first run for city council to my campaigns for public advocate and attorney general. I was honored to have him hold the bible at my inaugurations because I, and others, stand on his shoulders.”
Dinkins is survived by his two children and two grandchildren.