David Dinkins, New York City's first and so far only Black mayor, was remembered as a trailblazer whose lasting legacy was breaking racial barriers on behalf of many lawmakers who honored him at a tribute event Saturday morning.

Dinkins passed away on Monday at the age of 93 from natural causes.

"Dave Dinkins was a giant," Rev. Al Sharpton said at the socially distant gathering inside the National Action Network in Harlem. "He stood up when it was hard to stand up, to be held up, even when he didn't get credit."

The event was a fitting tribute for Dinkins, who rose in the political world as a Harlem Democrat, serving as a state Assembly member and Manhattan borough president before being elected as the city's 106th mayor in 1989. He defeated then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani in a narrow election, only for Giuliani to return and defeat Dinkins in 1993. Dinkins’ tenure was marked by a bleak time in New York City’s history, which had grappled with the onset of the crack-cocaine epidemic, high crime rates, and ballooning fiscal turmoil.

But for lawmakers, particularly those Black and Hispanic, Dinkins’ historic mayoralty was a source of inspiration for a generation of public servants who say his legacy has not been given its due attention.

"He understood the mission was bigger than him," Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first Black majority leader in the state Senate, said. "And he understood that the hopes and the dreams of so many, so many New Yorkers, so many people around the country, especially Black and brown people were in his ability to do the job they sent him to do, he never let us down."

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had worked with Dinkins in City Hall, said many of today's lawmakers began their careers because of Dinkins.

"There's a generation of people who believe they could make a difference because they saw David Dinkins do it first," de Blasio said. "He has a human legacy, you can feel right here in this room."

Other supporters used the focus on Dinkins' death to set the record straight on his tenure. David Patterson, New York's first Black governor, pointed out that crime did not rise when Dinkins took over, but dropped, starting a downward trend that began under him and continued into Giuliani's administration.

"The other issue is that Mayor Dinkins' Safe Streets, Safe City program brought 6,000 new police officers in New York," Patterson said. "But they didn't get there until after he left. So guess who took the credit for that? Reverend Sharpton said Mayor Giuliani."

Representative Adriano Espaillat, who represents the 13th Congressional District covering Harlem, called the attempts at overlooking Dinkins’ legacy as a kind of revisionist history.

"He's the one that got the money to start bringing crime down, but the revisionists tried to distort history and say somebody else did that," Espaillat said. "We need 1,000 David Dinkinses' right now."

Espaillat's predecessor, former Rep. Charlie Rangel, called Dinkins his brother. With Dinkins' passing, Rangel remains the last living member of Harlem's political dynasty dubbed "The Gang of Four."

With COVID-19 still raging, the Dinkins family held a small funeral for Dinkins last week.