Press Releases

October 16, 2012

Honoring The Life of Mervin Dymally

 

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Michael L. Peery 
Phone: 312-217-2260
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Media Release 
LIGHT OF MERVYN DYMALLY, CALIFORNIA’S FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN LT GOVERNOR DIMMED AT AGE 
86
Chicago Il, (October 8, 2012)— Today we mourn the loss of an elder iconoclast, Mervyn Dymally, who 
tirelessly served as the first African-American in the California State Assembly from 1963 to1966, as the 
first African-American in the California State Senate from 1967 to 1975, and who became California’s first 
and only African-American Lieutenant Governor in1974.
Born in Trinidad in 1926, the former Vanguard Reporter, attended Los Angeles State College and 
received a Masters from Sacramento State University. As a former teacher and union organizer, Mr. 
Dymally learned the importance of building an African-American powerbase. 
The trailblazer became “ dismayed by the dropping numbers of Blacks in legislature” and served more 
than a decade in the U.S. Congress from 1981-1983 where he represented Compton and its surrounding 
area. He established the largest legislative Black Caucus in California history known as the “Divine Nine”
and served as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He became an advocate for Haitian 
immigrants, for Russian Jews in the former Soviet Union, for Japanese Americans to be compensated for 
their internment in World War II, for a creation of a Palestinian State, for the dismantling of South African 
Apartheid and fought against the U.S sending aid to oppressive regimes in Latin America. He was also 
one of the first during his 50 year political career to pass the nation’s first civil right bills in1975.
After a decade away from politics, this seasoned politician returned to the State’s Assembly from 2002-
2008. In his later years, Mr. Dymally, spearheaded a Health Institute at Charles Drew University of 
Medicine And Science in South Los Angeles where at Nursing school bears his name.
In a statement regarding the outstanding service of Mr. Dymally, Rev Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. reflects, “Merv 
Dymally was one of the most powerful pioneers of our time. He laid the groundwork for political 
empowerment: laid the predicate for Tom Bradley, Dick Hatcher and others…Lt. Governor Brown of 
Colorado. He was a mentor to me during my 50 years of service. He deserves great honor and I feel 
personally indebted to him.”
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition salutes and remembers the pioneering efforts of this great man. Meryn 
Dymally’s true light shall never truly be dimmed. In his honor, use your vote.
We urge everyone to register to vote. If you do not know the rules for voting in your state, or have 
questions, go to866ourvote.com or call 1- 866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Michael L. Peery 

Phone: 312-217-2260

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Media Release 

LIGHT OF MERVYN DYMALLY, CALIFORNIA’S FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN LT GOVERNOR DIMMED AT AGE 

86

Chicago Il, (October 8, 2012)— Today we mourn the loss of an elder iconoclast, Mervyn Dymally, who 

tirelessly served as the first African-American in the California State Assembly from 1963 to1966, as the 

first African-American in the California State Senate from 1967 to 1975, and who became California’s first 

and only African-American Lieutenant Governor in1974.

Born in Trinidad in 1926, the former Vanguard Reporter, attended Los Angeles State College and 

received a Masters from Sacramento State University. As a former teacher and union organizer, Mr. 

Dymally learned the importance of building an African-American powerbase. 

The trailblazer became “ dismayed by the dropping numbers of Blacks in legislature” and served more 

than a decade in the U.S. Congress from 1981-1983 where he represented Compton and its surrounding 

area. He established the largest legislative Black Caucus in California history known as the “Divine Nine”

and served as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He became an advocate for Haitian 

immigrants, for Russian Jews in the former Soviet Union, for Japanese Americans to be compensated for 

their internment in World War II, for a creation of a Palestinian State, for the dismantling of South African 

Apartheid and fought against the U.S sending aid to oppressive regimes in Latin America. He was also 

one of the first during his 50 year political career to pass the nation’s first civil right bills in1975.

After a decade away from politics, this seasoned politician returned to the State’s Assembly from 2002-

2008. In his later years, Mr. Dymally, spearheaded a Health Institute at Charles Drew University of 

Medicine And Science in South Los Angeles where at Nursing school bears his name.

In a statement regarding the outstanding service of Mr. Dymally, Rev Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. reflects, “Merv 

Dymally was one of the most powerful pioneers of our time. He laid the groundwork for political 

empowerment: laid the predicate for Tom Bradley, Dick Hatcher and others…Lt. Governor Brown of 

Colorado. He was a mentor to me during my 50 years of service. He deserves great honor and I feel 

personally indebted to him.”

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition salutes and remembers the pioneering efforts of this great man. Meryn 

Dymally’s true light shall never truly be dimmed. In his honor, use your vote.

We urge everyone to register to vote. If you do not know the rules for voting in your state, or have 

questions, go to866ourvote.com or call 1- 866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).