David Dinkins, the first Black mayor of New York City, died at his home in Manhattan. He was 93 years old.

Dinkins broke barriers with his 1989 election, managing to defeat three-term incumbent Ed Koch during the Democratic primary that year and later went on to defeat Rudy Giuliani by the narrowest electoral margin in New York City history: 47,000 votes. Giuliani would go on to defeat Dinkins for the position four years later, in a campaign that was rife with racial overtones.

A Washington Post profile of Mr. Dinkins called his candidacy in 1989 a preface to a “healing interlude for a city wracked by years of racial tension.” 

Early Tuesday, Giuliani expressed his condolences on Twitter, saying of Dinkins, “He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City. That service is respected and honored by all.”

Dinkins worked to unite a divided city as it battled a high crime rate, after his graduation from Howard University and Brooklyn Law School. During his term as mayor from 1990 to 1993, Dinkins vowed to be “mayor of all the people of New York,” and declared: “We are all foot soldiers on the march to freedom.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Dinkins “a remarkable civic leader” who served the city “with the hope of unity and a deep kindness.”

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Dinkins’s death comes just a little more than a month after his wife, Joyce Burrows Dinkins, died at the age of 89. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.

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