Basil Paterson

Paterson is an elder statesman of Harlem politics, a former Deputy Mayor under Ed Koch, and a neighborhood power broker. As an attorney, he's represented many of the city's biggest unions, including TWU Local 100, SEIU 1199, and the Randi Weingarten-led United Federation of Teachers.

A Harlem native, Paterson attended St. John's University (although his studies were interrupted by a two year stint in the army during World War II), where he began participating in social and community organizations as a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and stuck around to earn his J.D. from the St. John's University Law School. However, he quickly made himself known in the New York political scene in the early ‘60s as a member of the "Gang of Four," Harlem's leading Democratic political force, with former mayor David Dinkins, former Manhattan Borough President Percy Stutton, and Congressman Charles Rangel. Paterson was elected to the New York State Senate in 1965, but after a failed bid at running for Lieutenant Governor, Paterson was appointed as a Deputy Mayor under Ed Koch. He rounded out his own political career as the Secretary of State of New York, the first African American to hold the position. Paterson has since moved on to the private sector, working as a member of the law firm Meyer, Suozzi, English, & Klein, where he focuses on labor law, but some familial ties made his job difficult for a few years. His son, David Paterson, was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2006 on Eliot Spitzer's ticket and then succeeded Spitzer when he resigned in 2008. Naturally, as Basil acted as the voice of the Hospital Workers and Teamster Unions, Basil feared that facing his son may "get in the way." [Image via Getty]