Columbia Launches David N. Dinkins Archives, Oral History Project
Columbia University has launched the David N. Dinkins Archives and Oral History Project, which will include an archive of Dinkins’ official and personal papers and correspondence, an oral history of Dinkins’ life, political philosophy and policy agenda, and a program initiative documenting the influences of Black political leaders on New York City and the national political arena.
Dinkins, New York City’s first Black mayor, was elected in 1989 and lost his re-election bid to Rudolph Giuliani four years later.
The project was announced last month at the eighth annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum, sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Center for Urban Research and Policy (CURP). Dinkins has been a professor in the practice of public affairs at SIPA since 1994.
“Columbia is fortunate to have the opportunity to undertake this project in research, education and community outreach,” says university President George Rupp. “The historical richness of David Dinkins’ legacy and the contributions of New York’s African American political leaders will be a tremendous addition to the university’s scholarly resources.”
“David Dinkins’ significance in New York City’s history is unparalleled,” says SIPA Dean Lisa Anderson. “As the first African American mayor of the largest city in the nation, Mayor Dinkins plays a prominent role in the history of African American politics as well as the study of New York City and the urban history of America — indeed, in the history of people of African descent around the world.”
CURP will develop the archives and oral history project in cooperation with Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library and its Oral History Research Office. The Dinkins project, directed by research scholar and SIPA faculty member Deborah Ward, will encourage access to these materials for professional scholars wishing to produce papers, monographs, books and documentary films.
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