The David N. Dinkins School for Community Service

David Norman Dinkins (1927-2020), the first Black mayor of New York City, was inaugurated on January 1, 1990 and served until January 31, 1993. Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and grew up in Trenton and Harlem. After graduating from high school, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps, earning the Congressional Gold Medal. He earned an undergraduate degree at Howard University, then attended Brooklyn Law School, graduating in 1956. He practiced law privately from 1956 to 1975. He represented the 78th District in the New York State Assembly in 1966, and served as president of the New York City Board of Elections from 1972 to 1973. He served as a city clerk for ten years. On his third run, he was elected Manhattan borough president in 1985, serving until 1989.

Elected the 106th mayor of New York City on November 7, 1989, Dinkins defeated three-term incumbent mayor Ed Koch and two other challengers in the Democratic primary and Republican nominee Rudy Giuliani in the general election. Economic decline and racial tensions, including the Crown Heights riot of 1991, led to Dinkins's defeat by Republican Rudy Giuliani in the 1993 election. Dinkins was a professor of professional practice at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs from 1994 until his death, served on numerous boards, and remained active in Democratic politics.

Highlights of his administration included the cleanup of Times Square, the Beacon Schools program, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and the "Safe Streets, Safe City" plan. Dinkins was responsible for several initiatives that continue to bring significant revenue to New York City: the 99-year lease signed with the USTA National Tennis Center for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Fashion Week, Restaurant Week, and Broadway on Broadway.


Brooklyn Law School, "David N. Dinkins ’56, First Black Mayor of New York and Brooklyn Law School Icon, Dies at 93," November 24, 2020,

Chandelis Duster, "David Dinkins, New York's First Black Mayor, Dies at 93," CNN, November 24, 2020,

Robert D. McFadden, "David N. Dinkins, New York's First Black Mayor, Dies At 93," New York Times, November 24, 2020,

New York City Council, "Speaker Adams, Civic Leaders, and School Community Celebrate Renaming of PS 48Q as The David N. Dinkins School for Community Service, October 6, 2022,