Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Another Icon Gone

Today's bad news is the the death of David Dinkins, New York City's first, and , African-American mayor. Dinkins' term ranged from 1990 to 1993, a period of time in which the crime rate dropped, and a lot of community revitalization took place, trends for which his successor, Rudy Giuliani, took credit. Shortly after Dinkins' term, I worked in a South Bronx neighborhood which was heavily revitalized during Dinkins' administration. Mayor Dinkins also initiated the 'cleanup of Times Square. 

Giuliani's campaign against Dinkins, predictably, played on racial anxiety, particularly regarding the Crown Heights Riot, during which Jamaican-Americans protested the death of a child struck by a car in a Hasidic convoy, and a Hasidic student was knifed to death. Mayor Dinkins was unfairly accused of favoring the Jamaican-American protestors, while actually trying to defuse a difficult situation impartially. We all know how Giuliani turned out. 

I met David Dinkins in the early 2000s, at a fundraising dinner. He was a gracious, lovely man. He deserved a lot better than he got, his successor's reputation as the man who cleaned up New York was largely stolen from David Dinkins. In a particularly poignant turn of events, Mr Dinkins died mere weeks after his wife. My sincere hope is that the Dinkins legacy receives the scrutiny, and reassessment that it deserves.


Marc McKenzie said...

Well said. I was thinking about that this morning upon hearing of Dinkins' passing, that a lot of what Guiliani was taking credit for was actually started by Dinkins.

Dinkins was a great mayor for New York, and I hope that as time passes that there will be that reassessment of his legacy that you mentioned.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It's just like Trump taking credit for successful Obama policies. Republicans love stolen glory almost as much as they love stolen valor.