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  City Hall Library Notes, February 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON: Black History Month

By Christine Bruzzese

      February has been designated Black History Month in honor of black culture and achievements. This article focuses on resources in the City Hall Library collection related to black history.

      A Mayor's Life by David Dinkins and Peter Knobler is the autobiography of the New York City's first black mayor. Dinkins was born in 1927, served in the Marine Corps and attended Howard University and Brooklyn Law School. He describes his career in public service leading up to his election in 1989. Accomplishments during his term as Mayor included the "Safe Streets, Safe Cities" program, improved policing and lower crime rates, revitalization of Times Square. He also discusses his relationship with the late Nelson Mandela and the 1993 mayoral race against Rudolph Giuliani.

    The Mayor's Commission on Black New Yorkers was established by Mayor Koch in January 1986 and completed their study in November 1988. The Commission found that black New Yorkers tended to be less educated and more economically disadvantaged than whites. This report offers possible solutions and also contains useful statistical information on education, economic development, poverty, and employment.

    King of the Cats: the Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. by Wil Haygood chronicles the life story of the Congressman from Harlem. Powell was the first black Congressman from the Harlem district, serving from 1945 to 1970. The book discusses his career from City Council to Congress, his work on behalf of civil rights and fair employment legislation, personal life, and events that led to his downfall.

    Consult the City Hall Library catalog for books on black history, biographies, and related topics. Vertical and biographical files can also provide resources for the interested researcher.

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