David Dinkins, who made history in 1990 when he became the first and to date, still the only Black mayor of New York City, has died at the age of 93.
The NYPD reportedly received a call from Dinkins’ residence in Manhattan about an unconscious person having difficulty breathing. Current NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed Dinkins’ death the next day.
“Chirlane and I are mourning a truly great man. David Dinkins simply set this city on a better path,” de Blasio took to Twitter, with their photo. “He was my mentor, he was my friend, and his steadfast commitment to fight for that ‘gorgeous mosaic’ inspires me every single day. We’ll keep up his fight.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday also shared a photo of himself with Dinkins on Twitter, writing “NY lost a remarkable civic leader.”
Dinkins started his political career in the New York State Assembly in 1966. For a decade, he was a city clerk before becoming President of the Borough of Manhattan in 1986. He was elected as a mayor in 1990.
During his tenure, murders and other crimes were high. Yet he was the one responsible for the major expansion in NYPD that is credited as one of the major factors in decreasing crime. He also improved Times Square and the housing in Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn.
In 1993, Dinkins lost in the mayoral race to his political rival, Rudy Guiliani. He went on to teach at Columbia University and serve on the boards of civic and charitable organizations that mostly focus on children and race.
Dinkins died six weeks following the death of his wife, Joyce Dinkins, at the age of 89. He is survived by their two children and two grandchildren.