New York Leaders: Mayor David Dinkins

Portrait of Mayor David Dinkins

Mayor David Dinkins

Dinkins was the first, and so far only, African-American mayor of New York City. Relatively early in his public career, Dinkins partnered with a group of other black political leaders -- dedicated to improving the quality of inner-city neighborhoods, overcoming racial prejudice and increasing economic opportunities for African-Americans. Dinkins has held several public offices during his career, including State Assemblymember, President of the New York City Board of Elections and Manhattan Borough President. When he was elected mayor in 1989, he famously described New York’s diversity as a “gorgeous mosaic.” Dinkins’s administration confronted a number of challenges, including a lack of affordable housing, a growing AIDS crisis and the City’s mounting debt. He lost his reelection bid in 1993. Since then, Dinkins has become a professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and continues to advocate for social justice causes.