Mervyn Dymally

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Mervyn Dymally

Mervyn M. Dymally , born 1926, was a California based African-American educator and far left politician.

Dymally, a former Lieutenant Governor of California, passed away October 2012, in Los Angeles. He was 86.

Early life

Born in Cedros, Trinidad, in the British West Indies, Dymally attended Cedros Government School on Trinidad and St. Benedict and Naparima secondary schools in San Fernando, Trinidad. In 1946 he arrived in the United States to study at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO. He earned a B.A. degree in education from California State University, Los Angeles , in 1954. In 1956, he began a career as a teacher of exceptional children in Los Angeles.[1]


Dymally became a member of the U. S. House of Representatives in 1981 following a diverse career in education and government. From 1963 to 1966, Dymally served in the California assembly, and was a member of the state senate from 1967 until 1975. As a state senator, he chaired committees on social welfare, military and veterans’ affairs, elections and reapportionment, and a select committee on medical education and health needs. While a member of the legislature, he earned an M.A. degree in government at California State University at Sacramento in 1969.

In 1974 he was elected lieutenant governor of California; he also headed the State Commission for Economic Development and the Commission of the Californias. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1978, the same year he received a Ph.D. degree in human behavior from United States International University in San Diego.

Dymally defeated Representative Charles H. Wilson and three other candidates in the June 1980 primary in California's 31st Congressional District, and was decisively elected in November. He served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chairing its Subcommittee on International Operations.

He also served on the Post Office and Civil Service Committee and the District of Columbia Committee, chairing its Subcommittee on Judiciary and Education. From 1987 until 1989 he was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Dymally has sponsored legislation advocating the causes of many human rights groups and has devoted particular attention to United States policies toward and assistance levels for nations in Africa and the Caribbean.[2]

Supporting Angela Davis

In the early 1970s, several leading US elected officials publicly called for Communist Party USA member Angela Davis' freedom after her arrest on serious charges. They included Ron Dellums, Mervyn Dymally, Jackie Vaughn, Coleman Young, Sydney Von Luther and John Conyers.[3]

World Peace Council

In 1981 a World Peace Council delegation led by Romesh Chandra toured the U.S. to publicize the "nuclear freeze" then being promoted by Leonid Brezhnev.

This group met with several Congressmen at the Capitol, including John Conyers, George Crockett, Ron Dellums, Don Edwards, Mervyn Dymally, Mickey Leland and Ted Weiss[4]

These Democratic Congressmen made House offices available for meetings with the WPC delegates.

During one of the meetings in these Congressmen's offices an official of the Communist Party USA was present and made a speech recommending that the "peace movement" unite in supporting the cause of several terrorist groups including the PLO and the Communist guerillas in EI Salvador.[5]

Philippines connection

Ang Katipunan September 1984

In September 1984 Odette Taverna of the Congress Task Force Coalition Against the Marcos Dictatorship/Philippines Solidarity Network served on a panel at a Congressional Black Caucus gathering with Rep. Mervyn Dymally and Nicaraguan Consul Francisco Campbell.

Radical assistant

Miya Iwataki was a Contributing Editor to East Wind. She was a special assistant to Congressman Mervyn Dymally (D-Calif.) whose 31st district includes Cardena and Carson. She also produced KPFK's weekly Asian program, "East Wind."[6]

Voted against support for "Contras"

The Congressional Record of February 3, 1988 shows that the following leading Democratic Party Congressmen voted against aid to the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters - the "Contras"- then fighting against the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government of Nicaragua:

"Congressional Pink Caucus"

In October 1989 the Nicaraguan Sandinista Government announced that they would no longer comply with the 19 month-old cease-fire agreement with the Contras. This had been considered a prime step forward for the "peace process" that was progressing slowly as part of the Arias Peace Plan.

A resolution was introduced in Congress deploring the Sandinistas' action. The Senate voted unanimously in favor, but in the House the vote was 379-29. All the 29 Congressmen voting against the resolution were Democrats.

The Council for Inter-American Security dubbed these 29 people the "Congressional Pink Caucus":

Greeting Chris Hani

More than 250 labor, peace, civil rights and political leaders greeted South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani at his April 27, 1991, appearance in Los Angeles. The crowd contributed more than $12,000 towards the People's Weekly World fund drive and the work of the South African Communist Party.

Los Angeles City Council member Robert Farrell, presented Hani with a resolution signed by Mayor Tom Bradley and City Council president John Ferraro, welcoming him as "one of the most highly respected and powerful voices of the anti Apartheid movement."

The welcoming committee included reps Maxine Waters, Mervyn Dymally and Matthew Martinez, State senator Diane Watson, Los Angeles School board president Jackie Goldberg and more than 30 labor, civic and entertainment leaders including Cesar Chavez of the United Farmworkers.

Waters sent a letter of greeting to Hani and Yengeni saying, "as the struggle within South Africa continues to develop from one stage to the next, please be assured that all of us will continue to be at your side. Your struggle is our struggle".

Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California district of the Communist Party USA, introduced Hani, She drew rousing cheers as she pledged, on behalf of the audience and the welcoming committee, continued efforts to maintain sanctions against South Africa.[7]

Supporting Sandre Swanson

In 2006, Mervyn Dymally, Assemblymember , was one of many prominent Northern California leftists to serve on State Assembly hopeful Sandre Swanson's Honorary Campaign Committee.[8]


  1. [, African American registry bio, accessed Sept. 21, 2011]
  2. [, African American registry bio, accessed Sept. 21, 2011]
  3. [the Fight to Free Angela Davis, Charlene Mitchell, CPUSA Convention 1972]
  4. Communists in the Democratic party, pages 50 and 65
  5. Communists in the Democratic party, page 66
  6. [East Wind 1985]
  7. Peoples weekly World, May 4, 1991, page 2
  8. Sandre Swanson website, Endorsements, accessed July 28, 2011