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and he would bring them into his firm, train them,
quietly and gently, and I suppose the most important training that Ben offered was that of
a model of integrity, probity, balance.
Out of his firm came a number of black judges, such as Kenneth Phipps, a young man who
died prematurely; Fritz Alexander. David Dinkins, who's now very very well-known in New
York City politics. And I think he's a clerk, New York City Clerk, something like that --
he is in charge of marriage licenses and things of that sort.
Do I recall correctly that he was a prospect for deputy mayor?
You're absolutely right, the same Dave Dinkins. This was a major contribution of Ben
Dyett's, to select and bring into his firm young black lawyers. And I wasn't a lawyer, but
somehow Ben established this kind of relationship with me. And let me add that it was
without the slightest bit of condescension. I mean, he had this wonderful capacity to
influence younger men in ways which they could accept. You know, he wasnot preachy. He was
not a pontificator. He was just a warm, wonderful person, with whom I felt I could always
go and get his perspective on problems, and he would write me letters or call me up, and
comment on something which I 'd said or done.
Whenever I was in any kind of public controversy, Ben was in the background, giving me
his reactions to it, and this didn't mean always a pat on the back or congratulations. I
mean, it was commenting, in a balanced and thoughtful way.
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