For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael L. Peery
LIGHT OF MERVYN DYMALLY, CALIFORNIA’S FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN LT GOVERNOR DIMMED AT AGE
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).