McCray at a rally to protest the closure of
Long Island College Hospital
|First Lady of New York City|
January 1, 2014
|Preceded by||Donna Hanover
Diana Taylor (de facto)
|Born||Chirlane Irene McCray
November 29, 1954
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Bill de Blasio (m. 1994)|
|Alma mater||Wellesley College|
|Occupation||Writer, public affairs|
Chirlane Irene McCray (born November 29, 1954) is an American writer, editor, communications professional, and political figure. She has published poetry and worked in politics as a speechwriter. Married to current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, she is the First Lady of New York City. They have two children, Chiara and Dante. They moved from their home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, into Gracie Mansion, the traditional residence of New York City mayors.
Early life and education
McCray was born in and spent her early years in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her mother, Katharine Clarissa Eileen (née Edwards), was an assembly worker at an electronics factory, and her father, Robert Hooper McCray, was an inventory clerk at a military base. She is of Bajan and St. Lucian descent, but traces her grandmother's last name to Ghana.
When she was ten years old, her family moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, becoming only the second black family in the area. Other families in the neighborhood circulated petitions demanding they leave.
In high school, McCray was for a time the only black student in her school. McCray cites this early experience with racism and bullying as part of the reason she began to write, using her poetry as an outlet for her anger. She also wrote a column for her school newspaper, in which she denounced classmates for their racism.
McCray enrolled at Wellesley College in 1972. While studying there, she became a member of the Combahee River Collective, a black feminist organization, which inspired her to write prose and poetry.
After graduation, she moved to New York City to work for Redbook. She published an essay in Essence magazine in 1979, entitled "I Am a Lesbian", an essay described as "groundbreaking" for how a black woman discussed her sexuality in a black magazine. The purpose of the essay was to "dispel the myth that there are no gay black people". Some of her poetry is included in Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology.
In 1991, McCray entered politics. She worked as a speechwriter for the mayor David Dinkins. During the Clinton administration, she worked for the New York Foreign Press Center as a public affairs specialist. She also worked as a speechwriter for the state comptroller, Carl McCall, and the city comptroller, Bill Thompson.
In 2004, she left Thompson's office to work in the private sector. She worked for five years at Maimonides Medical Center. She also worked for Citigroup in its public relations department for six months, before deciding it was "not a good fit". During her husband's campaign for mayor of New York City in the 2013 election, she edited his speeches and helped interview candidates for staff positions.
McCray met Bill de Blasio in 1991, when they both worked at New York City Hall for Mayor David Dinkins. At the time, de Blasio was an aide to a deputy mayor and McCray was a speechwriter. McCray and de Blasio were married in 1994 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Asked about her sexuality, McCray has stated that she hates "labels". In 2012, when asked about her 1979 essay, she commented: "In the 1970s, I identified as a lesbian and wrote about it. In 1991, I met the love of my life, married him."
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- Barbaro, Michael (October 1, 2013). "Once Alienated, and Now a Force in Her Husband’s Bid for Mayor: Chirlane McCray Plays Key Role in de Blasio Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
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- Mance, Ajuan (October 18, 2009). "Pioneering Black Feminist Makes History Again". Black On Campus. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
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- The Plum Book: U. S. Government Policy and Supporting Positions for 9,000 Federal Civil Service Positions. DIANE Publishing. 1996. p. 236. ISBN 0788135708.
- Fermino, Jennifer (May 21, 2013). "Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, opens up on her role as the mayoral race's most visible spouse". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
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- Grynbaum, Michael M.; Stewart, Nikita; Rashbaum, William K. (October 3, 2014). "At City Hall, Backstage Player Is Cast in Main Stage Uproar". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
- Saul, Michael Howard (January 1, 2013). "Family in the Spotlight: De Blasio's Wife, Children Provide Multiracial Backdrop to Likely Mayoral Bid". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- O'Neill, Natalie (May 10, 2013). "Bill de Blasio’s wife recalls him first learning that she was a lesbian". New York Post. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Belonsky, Andrew (September 3, 2013). "When Bill de Blasio's Wife Was a Lesbian". Out. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
- "Chirlane McCray". Mack Crounse Group. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012.
- Chirlane McCray on Facebook
Donna Hanover (2002)
|First Lady of New York City