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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

In this Monday, Jan. 2, 1990, file photo, David Dinkins delivers his first speech as mayor of New York, in New York. Dinkins, New York City’s first African-American mayor, died Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. He was 93. (AP Photo/Frankie Ziths, File) 


 NEW YORK (AP) — David Dinkins, who broke barriers as New York City’s first African-American mayor, but was doomed to a single term by a soaring murder rate, stubborn unemployment and his mishandling of a race riot in Brooklyn, has died. He was 93. 

Dinkins died Monday, the New York City Police Department confirmed. The department said officers were called to the former mayor’s home this evening. Initial indications were that he died of natural causes. 

Dinkins, a calm and courtly figure with a penchant for tennis and formal wear, was a dramatic shift from both his predecessor, Ed Koch, and his successor, Rudolph Giuliani — two combative and often abrasive politicians in a city with a world-class reputation for impatience and rudeness. 

In his inaugural address, he spoke lovingly of New York as a “gorgeous mosaic of race and religious faith, of national origin and sexual orientation, of individuals whose families arrived yesterday and generations ago, coming through Ellis Island or Kennedy Airport or on buses bound for the Port Authority.”

But the city he inherited had an ugly side, too. 

AIDS, guns and crack cocaine killed thousands of people each year. Unemployment soared. Homelessness was rampant. The city faced a $1.5 billion budget deficit. 

Dinkins’ low-key, considered approach quickly came to be perceived as a flaw. Critics said he was too soft and too slow. 

“Dave, Do Something!” screamed one New York Post headline in 1990, Dinkins’ first year in office.

Dinkins did a lot at City Hall. He raised taxes to hire thousands of police officers. He spent billions of dollars revitalizing neglected housing. His administration got the Walt Disney Corp. to invest in the cleanup of then-seedy Times Square. 

In recent years, he’s gotten more credit for those accomplishments — credit that Mayor Bill de Blasio said he should have always had. De Blasio, who worked in Dinkins’ administration, named Manhattan’s Municipal Building after the former mayor in October 2015. 

Results from those accomplishments, however, didn’t come fast enough to earn Dinkins a second term.

After beating Giuliani by only by 47,000 votes out of 1.75 million cast in 1989, Dinkins lost a rematch by roughly the same margin in 1993. 

Political historians often trace the defeat to Dinkins’ handling of the Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn in 1991. 

The violence began after a black 7-year-old boy was accidentally killed by a car in the motorcade of an Orthodox Jewish religious leader. During the three days of anti-Jewish rioting by young black men that followed, a rabbinical student was fatally stabbed. Nearly 190 people were hurt. 

A state report issued in 1993, an election year, cleared Dinkins of the persistently repeated charge that he intentionally held back police in the first days of the violence, but criticized him for not stepping up as a leader. 

In a 2013 memoir, Dinkins accused the police department of letting the disturbance get out of hand, and also took a share of the blame, on the grounds that “the buck stopped with me.” But he bitterly blamed his election defeat on prejudice: “I think it was just racism, pure and simple.” 

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, on July 10, 1927, Dinkins moved with his mother to Harlem when his parents divorced, but returned to his hometown to attend high school. There, he learned an early lesson in discrimination: Blacks were not allowed to use the school swimming pool. 

During a hitch in the Marine Corps as a young man, a Southern bus driver barred him from boarding a segregated bus because the section for blacks was filled. “And I was in my country’s uniform!” Dinkins recounted years later. While attending Howard University, the historically black university in Washington, D.C., Dinkins said he gained admission to segregated movie theaters by wearing a turban and faking a foreign accent.Back in New York with a degree in mathematics, Dinkins married his college sweetheart, Joyce Burrows, in 1953. His father-in-law, a power in local Democratic politics, channeled Dinkins into a Harlem political club. Dinkins paid his dues as a Democratic functionary while earning a law degree from Brooklyn Law School, and then went into private practice. 

He got elected to the state Assembly in 1965, became the first black president of the city’s Board of Elections in 1972 and went on to serve as Manhattan borough president. 

Dinkins’ election as mayor in 1989 came after two racially charged cases that took place under Koch: the rape of a white jogger in Central Park and the bias murder of a black teenager in Bensonhurst.

Dinkins defeated Koch, 50 percent to 42 percent, in the Democratic primary. But in a city where party registration was 5-to-1 Democratic, Dinkins barely scraped by the Republican Giuliani in the general election, capturing only 30 percent of the white vote. 

His administration had one early high note: 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. 

In that same year, though, Dinkins was criticized for his handling of a black-led boycott of Korean-operated grocery stores in Brooklyn. Critics contended Dinkins waited too long to intervene. He ultimately ended up crossing the boycott line to shop at the stores — but only after Koch did. 

During Dinkins’ tenure, the city’s finances were in rough shape because of a recession that cost New York 357,000 private-sector jobs in his first three years in office. 

Meanwhile, the city’s murder toll soared to an all-time high, with a record 2,245 homicides during his first year as mayor. There were 8,340 New Yorkers killed during the Dinkins administration — the bloodiest four-year stretch since the New York Police Department began keeping statistics in 1963. 

In the last years of his administration, record-high homicides began a decline that continued for decades. In the first year of the Giuliani administration, murders fell from 1,946 to 1,561. 

One of Dinkins’ last acts in 1993 was to sign an agreement with the United States Tennis Association that gave the organization a 99-year lease on city land in Queens in return for building a tennis complex. That deal guaranteed that the U.S. Open would remain in New York City for decades. 

After leaving office, Dinkins was a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. 

He had a pacemaker inserted in August 2008, and underwent an emergency appendectomy in October 2007. He also was hospitalized in March 1992 for a bacterial infection that stemmed from an abscess on the wall of his large intestine. He was treated with antibiotics and recovered in a week. Dinkins is survived by his son, David Jr.; and daughter, Donna and two grandchildren. His wife, Joyce, died in October at the age of 89. 

Associated Press writer David Ca in New York contributed to this report.



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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 9: ICON Awards Honor Diversity And Service At U.S. Open

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CBS News personality (L)Betty Nguyen and cultural critic (R)Toure' were the hosts of the ICON Awards  Former NYC Mayor (C)David Dinkins was honored.

Billie Jean King
Rain couldn’t wash away the crowds as the ICON Awards honored trailblazers in the world of tennis and beyond.

The annual reception – hosted by CBS anchor Betty Nguyen and MSNBC host Toure, celebrated its third anniversary inside the Chase Center, on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The gala has become one of the signature events at the Open, leveraging the international stage of one of America’s greatest sports and entertainment spectaculars to recognize and celebrate individual and institutional contributions in diversity and inclusion.

This year honorees included the Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center (formerly Sportsmen’s Tennis Club) of Boston, Mass., along with Rick Welts, President and CEO f the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. To cap off the night, a teary-eyed Billie Jean King introduced Legacy Award winner David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor of New York City and longtime member of the USTA Board of Directors.

As the national governing body for tennis, the USTA is committed to the principles of fairness and equality. From supporting tennis programs in local communities to staging the crown jewel of the professional game—the US Open—the organization adheres to a simple statement that sums up a vital objective: "Grow tennis and make it look like America."

Toni Wiley, Executive Director of Sportsmen’s, stepped to the podium and thanked the members of the Boston community – including host Toure, who was a member of the Dorchester-area club as a child – for supporting the tennis haven for 50 years. It is the oldest African American-owned tennis facility in the United States.

“Its amazing that for 50 years, this club has been fighting to create a place in a Boston community for young people to learn a sport,” said Wiley. “For many families, that didn’t seem possible when the facility was first built.”

Welts was next introduced with a sharp video package featuring endorsements from the likes of NBA Commissioner David Stern, Hall-of-Fame Boston Celtics center and coach Bill Russell and Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo. Welts made headlines in May 2011 by publicly revealing his homosexuality in an interview with the New York Times.

USTA Chairman of the Board and (L)President Jon Vegosen and USTA Executive Director and (R)Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith.

As one of the few openly gay executives in professional sports, Welts speaks out against the silence that envelops the subject of homosexuality in men’s team sports and serves as a mentor to gay individuals who harbor doubts about a sports career, whether on the court or in the front office.

“In men’s team sports, there’s a level of discomfort along all lines – we don’t like talking about sexual orientation, its uncomfortable,” said Welts. “I hoped that my story would resonate with young people who may be found themselves at some point in their life in the same situation as I was and wondered if they could ever follow their passion – that they’d be prevented from following a dream because of who they were.”

King then was introduced, to a standing ovation, and remarked that without Dinkins – who signed into legislation a 99-year lease to keep the US Open in Flushing Meadows – as the person most chiefly responsible enhancing the sport of tennis in New York City.

“Events like today’s ICON Awards tell us that we have made great strides in the right direction,” said Dinkins. “The leaps ahead have most often been sparked by heroic individuals and tennis has certainly had its share. Among them were my personal heroes Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe… had the misguided prevailed in barring Althea, Arthur and countless others from competition, we might not have known them. That would have been tragic. Were it not for their struggles and triumphs, we might not have ever experienced the genius of so many great champions in tennis.

“I’m personally gratified that the USTA embraces the goal of enabling everyone to enjoy the benefits of tennis, regardless of economic status, age, social class, disability, gender or sexual orientation,” added Dinkins.

“(Total inclusion) is a goal, but not yet a reality – we have some distance yet to go.”


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2011 U.S. OPEN OPENING NIGHT: (PHOTOS) The Stars Came Out

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 U.S. Open opening night ceremony atmosphere at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2011 in New York City.

The Honorable Mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins

A general view of atmosphere at The Moet Suite at the US OPEN, Moet & Chandon is the official champagne sponsor of the 2011 US OPEN, on August 29, 2011 in New York City.

Television personality Robin Roberts - Hot shoes!

14-year old singer/musician Greyson Chance

Former professional U.S. tennis player, Jim Courier

 Actress Bridget Moynahan in the Moet Suite at The US Open, signing a limited-edition magnum for the champagne's Cheers for a Champion charity initiative benefiting USTA Serves.

Singer Tony Bennett and wife Susan Crow

Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour

Actor Alec Baldwin (R) and girlfriend Hilaria Thomas

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins (L) and Joyce Dinkins
MTV/VJ Coltrane Curtis attends The Moet Suite at the US OPEN, Moet & Chandon is the official champagne sponsor of the 2011 US OPEN.

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Celebrities Attend U. S. Open Buzz Party

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartyFormer New York City Mayor David Denkins

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartyActress Glenn Close

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartyMartina Navratilova

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartyPatrick McEnroe, General Manager of USTA Elite Player Development and Captain of the U.S. Davis Cup Team

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartySports Promoter Don King

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartySir Richard Branson

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartySinger Rob Thomas and wife Marisol Thomas

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartyActor Alec Baldwin

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartySinger Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Buzz PartyModel Christie Brinkley

Photos Getty Images

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USTA And Heineken Premium Light Official Players Party

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 US Open USTA/Heineken Premium Light
Official Players Party

August 22 - Empire Hotel Rooftop
New York, NY United States

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartySerena Williams

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyFeliciano Lopez

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyFormer New York City Mayor David Dinkins

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartySabine Lasicki

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyJames Blake

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyMaria Sharapova

Black Tennis Pro's US Open Heineken PartyActor Daniel Sunjata

Photos WireImage

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