Melvin Dickson, 77

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A celebration of the life of Black Panther revolutionary Mel Dickson was held December 8th at Met West High School at 314 E. 10th Street, Oakland.
A celebration of the life of Black Panther revolutionary Mel Dickson was held Dec. 8, 2018, at Met West High School at 314 E. 10th Street with more than 200 attending and watching the pouring of libations for Dickson, a humble, selfless hero who modeled his life after a host of other dedicated leaders including the late Huey Newton who allowed him to create and edit The Commemorator. Dickson died on Oct. 25, 2018, in Berkeley. He was 77 years old.
Andrea Prichett said “Dickson was a role model and mentor for young people in our community and also a leader for me.” Nearly all of over a dozen speakers wrote and spoke of Dickson’s life being devoted to education and liberation. His most recent trip was to Cuba where he helped to free the Cuban Five and also tutored for the Bobby Hutton Literacy Program.
“Rest in Power” said Cadelba Lomeli-Loibi, as Huey Newton’s widow Frederica Newton came by and reflected on how committed Dickson was when he visited Newton at a time when Frederica said “he was medically fragile.
“Melvin would check on us regularly to see if we were OK, and he cherished clothing gifts that Huey had given to him and another Panther.
“The clothes that Huey gave him had been tailored a long time ago. He would talk about the Commerator newspaper, but never the personal struggles he might have had.
“Melvin felt like that older brother” Newton continued. “He was a gentle warrior.” Nearly all of the speakers praised Dickson for his leadership of the young and old and said he was a brilliant tutor for people who wanted to understand politics. After coming to Oakland with his wife, Asali Dickson, he worked on the campaigns of the late Mayor Lionel Wilson and former Black Party Chairwoman Elaine Brown when she ran for City Council.
Poet Aqueila Ross, one of Dickson’s many students, worked on The Commemorator with Dickson and she wept most of the evening. Even after the Black Panther Party’s demise, she said Dickson remained friends with her and Newton and “he was without ego, with a bright cloud of love in his heart.”Aisha Mohammad said “Salaam, my comrade, friend and uncle… We worked together on many committees and projects and supported other causes while creating chapters that rallied community support for incarcerated former Panthers. Melvin even took my daughters and me under his wing and we became family in a short time.
“If we didn’t see each other, we would call and see how each other was doing. We went to a 50th anniversary in Seattle when Melvin was in much pain, yet he went through the whole four days with high spirits and energy. No one could have guessed…He was a soldier true to his mission.”

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