New York City

New York City's First Black Mayor David Dinkins Remembered as ‘a Warrior' in Harlem Tribute

Dinkins "knew how to fight without picking up a gun. His words were his bullets and we must learn from that today," said NY Assemblywoman Inez Dickens

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New York City officials and community members gathered Saturday morning in Harlem to pay tribute and celebrate the legacy of David Dinkins, the city's first Black mayor, who died this week at age 93.

"We did not think that the Harlem community and those around it should live the weekend without showing love, affection and admiration for a man who changed the course of history," said Rev. Al Sharpton, president of The National Action Network, one of the nation's leading civil rights organizations, which hosted the event.

Dinkins was elected mayor in 1989 after two high-profile racially charged cases took place under the previous administration of Mayor Ed Koch: the death and rape of a white jogger in Central Park and the bias murder of a Black teenager in Bensonhurst. He then lost his re-election to Rudy Giuliani in 1993.

"There's a generation of people who believed they could make a difference because they saw David Dinkins do it first. He has a human legacy. You can feel right here in this room," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who worked in Dinkins’ administration and attended the event with New York City's first lady Chirlane McCray.

Early during Dinkins' administration newly freed Nelson Mandela made New York City his first stop in the U.S. in 1990. Dinkins had been a longtime, outspoken critic of apartheid in South Africa.

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