Langston McKinney Becomes Syracuse’s First African American City Judge

In 1989, David Dinkins, once the borough President for Manhattan, was elected as New York City’s first African American mayor. There was also big news in Virginia, as the first elected African American state governor in American history , Douglas Wilder, was set to take office in January of 1990.

A few years earlier, in 1986, Langston McKinney became Syracuse’s first African American city judge when he was appointed to replace retiring Judge Mathilde Bersani. McKinney would go on to win three elections- 1987, 1997, and 2007- and created a lasting legacy.

OHA was lucky enough to sit down with McKinney for an interview to help preserve the memory and history of this trailblazing individual. See our conversation in the video below and be sure to check out other oral histories by OHA on our Youtube channel.