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Clara A. L. Virginia Fields
C Virginia Fields.jpg
Fields in 2015
25th Borough President of Manhattan
In office
January 1, 1998 – December 31, 2005
Preceded by Ruth Messinger
Succeeded by Scott M. Stringer
Personal details
Clara Virginia Clark

August 6, 1945 (1945-08-06) (age 78)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Henry Fields
(m. 1971; div. 1985)
Alma mater Knoxville College (1967)
Indiana University (1969)

Clara A. L. Virginia Fields, better known as C. Virginia Fields (née Clark; born August 6, 1945), is an American politician who served as Borough President of Manhattan. She was served two terms, elected in 1997 and reelected in 2001, with her second term expiring at the end of 2005.

Early life and education

Clara Virginia Clark was born in Birmingham, Alabama to Peter and Lucille Clark. She received a B.A. in sociology from Knoxville College in Tennessee in 1967 and an M.S.W. from Indiana University Bloomington in 1969. She married Henry Fields in 1971; they divorced in 1985. In 1971, she moved to New York City and became a social worker. In the late 1970s and 1980s she worked in a variety of administrative positions in the social services field, while also becoming involved in community politics.

Fields was known for her activism during the height of the civil rights movement in which she participated in a number of protests and marches, thus beginning her foray into social and political advocacy. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Political career

In 1989, Fields was elected to the New York City Council. In 1997, Fields was elected Manhattan Borough President, after Ruth Messinger served the maximum two terms. Fields supported cultural organizations such as the New York Shakespeare Festival and the West Side Arts Coalition. She was in office during the September 11 attacks.

In 2005, Fields was a Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City. In early polls, she placed second to Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer. She received criticism for her campaign's perceived lack of policy-based motivation, with some critics pointing to the term limits of her position at the time as the real impetus for her campaign. It was discovered that her campaign literature included photographs doctored to create the impression of diversity in support. Fields never found traction and in the primary she finished third with 15.92% of the vote. Fields finished behind former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and Congressman Anthony Weiner, but ahead of City Council Speaker Gifford Miller.

In March 2006 it was reported that Fields would run for the State Senate seat representing Harlem and parts of Upper Manhattan, being vacated by Senate Minority Leader David Paterson. (Paterson ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket headed by State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer who was running for governor.) On June 1, 2006, Fields announced that she was ending her Senate campaign, explaining that it was not the right time for her to run.

Post-political career

Fields is the President and CEO of the non-profit organization, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLC), since 2008.

See also

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