Mervyn Dymally, 86, Calif.’s Only Black Lt. Governor

Mervyn M. Dymally

Mervyn Dymally, the history-making California assemblyman, senator and lieutenant governor who also served in Congress for more than a decade, has died at age 86. Representing Compton, Dymally was the state’s first foreign-born Black assemblyman in 1962, its first black state senator in 1966 and the first and only black lieutenant governor in 1974. In the U.S. Congress, he served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he championed economic and humanitarian aid for Africa. Dymally died Oct. 7 in Los Angeles. His wife, Alice Gueno Dymally said, “He lived a very extraordinary life and had no regrets.” The Trinidad-born Dymally was also a former teacher and union organizer. He led a health institute at the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles. The university’s nursing school bears his name. Dymally was born May 12, 1926, in Trinidad. After graduating from high school, he worked as a reporter for The Vanguard, a weekly newspaper published by a labor union. He came to the United States when he was 19. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Los Angeles State College, and a master’s degree in government from Sacramento State University and a doctorate in human behavior from United States International University, now Alliant International University, in San Diego. – The Root
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