Leonard Greene, New York Daily News, July 18, 2021
It’s not quite Chocolate City, but recent election wins by African-American politicians has the Big Apple on the verge of being the hub of Black Power.
Not only is the nation’s largest city poised to elect its second African-American mayor and its first African-American district attorney, New York City’s new Black power surge has already made significant inroads in state government and may soon even shake up the halls of Congress.
And that’s just on the surface. Behind the scenes is a slate of party bosses, city council members and energized voters ready to usher in a new day for New York’s long-suffering Black community.
“There is no question we are living in a golden age of Black political power,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), a freshman congressman from the Bronx, who is part of the city’s new political wave of influence.
“It will certainly mean a greater commitment to racial equity. Personnel is policy. People bring their experiences or faces to public life.”
Not since David Dinkins took the oath of office as New York City’s first Black mayor in 1990 has there been this much excitement around racial equity in the city. But even then, Dinkins didn’t have the authority Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who won last month’s Democratic primary for mayor, is expected to enjoy.
What kind of leadership should New Yorkers expect from Adams? King has two surprising words: Ed Koch.
Though he was a divisive figure in the city’s Black community, Koch, a three-term mayor from 1978 through 1990, was a strong, effective leader, King argued.
“You’re going to see a political strength in an Adam’s mayoralty that you haven’t seen in generations,” King said. “Koch was strong in his positions. If you didn’t like him you respected him. He was a strong mayor. He also represented New York. He epitomized New York. Koch brought an ethnicity to the mayoralty. He was a proud Jewish mayor. Eric will represent the Black community proudly and strongly while representing all of New York.”
But the Black power surge won’t stop at City Hall, insiders said. State Senate President Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and state Attorney General Letitia James, all African Americans, are the most powerful players in Albany, after Gov. Cuomo.
And Washington isn’t far behind. New York’s congressional delegation includes seven Black members, the largest number in Congress from any state ever.