PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins will give the Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, in Room 101 of the Salomon Center for Teaching. The theme of the event is "The Roots of Racism."
The Class of 1999 will attend the event as part of a class meeting on race relations, to be followed by programs in the freshmen units. The Salomon Center will open to first-year students from 6 to 6:40 p.m., after which it will be open to the community. Overflow seating will be available in Sayles Hall where a simulcast will be available. The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the offices of Student Life, the Dean of the College and the Chaplains.
Following Dinkins' lecture, actor Fred Morsell will perform "Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglass," a dramatic portrayal of the life of Douglass based on his autobiographies and speeches. For several years Morsell, a former Shakespearean actor and opera baritone who now lives in Montana, has been presenting dramatic programs on Douglass at educational institutions, theaters, convention centers and churches throughout the country. Morsell's one-man show has been featured on the PBS program "Bill Moyer's Journal." The event is co-sponsored by the offices of Student Life, the Dean of the College and the Chaplains.
David Dinkins was elected the 106th mayor of the City of New York in 1989 and served through 1993. His criminal justice plan, "Safe Streets, Safe City: Cops and Kids," reduced crime and, through its youth programs, expanded opportunity for New York's children. During his years in office, Dinkins also championed such issues as prevention of drug abuse, AIDS, housing and education.
Born in Trenton, N.J., Dinkins was raised in Trenton and later in Harlem during the Depression. His first job, at age 6, was selling shopping bags for two cents each on 125th Street in Harlem. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II. He received a B.S. in mathematics from Howard University in 1950, and an L.L.B. from Brooklyn Law School in 1956. From 1956 to 1975 he maintained a private law practice.
In 1966 Dinkins began his career in government in the New York State Assembly, where he helped create the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) program, which provides grants and educational assistance to low-income students. He then served as president of the New York City Board of Elections from 1972 to 1973. During that time he established guidelines that encouraged wider voter registration. He was appointed city clerk in 1975, a post he held for 10 years. He was then elected president of the Borough of Manhattan in 1985, serving for four years.
Dinkins is currently a professor at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a senior fellow at the Barnard-Columbia Center for Urban Policy. He hosts a public affairs radio program and serves on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations and several corporate entities. He continues to advocate for children, education, urban concerns and tolerance.