Monday, 14 September 2015


           BLACK    SOCIAL   HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                        

           Mervyn M. Dymally

Mervyn M. Dymally
Mervyn M. Dymally Assembly.jpg
Member of the California State Assemblyfrom District 53
In office
December 7, 2002 – December 1, 2008
Preceded byCarl Washington
Succeeded byIsadore Hall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 31st district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byCharles H. Wilson
Succeeded byWalter Tucker, Jr.
41st Lieutenant Governor of California
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 8, 1979
GovernorJerry Brown
Preceded byJohn L. Harmer
Succeeded byMichael Curb
Member of the California State Senate from District 29
In office
Member of the California State Assemblyfrom District 53
In office
Personal details
BornMervyn Malcolm Dymally
May 12, 1926
CedrosTrinidad and Tobago
DiedOctober 7, 2012 (aged 86)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Culver City, California
Political partyDemocratic
Lynn V. Dymally
Mark S. Dymally
ResidenceLos Angeles
Alma mater California State University, Los Angeles
Mervyn Malcolm Dymally (May 12, 1926 – October 7, 2012) was a California Democratic politician. He served in the California State Assembly (1963–66) and the California State Senate (1967–75), as the 41st Lieutenant Governor of California (1975–79), and in the U.S. House of Representatives (1981–93). Dymally returned to politics a decade later to serve in the California State Assembly(2003–08).[1]
Dymally, of mixed Indo-Trinidadian and Afro-Trinidadian heritage, was the first Trinidadian to serve California as State Senator andLieutenant Governor. He was one of the first persons of African and Indian origin to serve in the U.S. Congress. In 1974 he andGeorge L. Brown became the first two blacks elected to statewide office since Oscar Dunn did so during Reconstruction.[2] Dymally was also one of three African Americans to hold statewide office in California including Wilson Riles, who served as California Superintendent of Public Instruction serving from 1971 to 1983 and Kamala Harris, who is currently serving as California Attorney General.


Dymally received his secondary education at St. Benedict and Naparima Secondary School located in San FernandoTrinidad.[3]
He moved to the United States to study journalism at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. After a semester there he moved to the greater Los Angeles area to attend Chapman University, and completed a Bachelor of Arts in education at California State University, Los Angeles in 1954.[3] Dymally became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in 1949.[4]
In 1969, while serving in the California State Legislature, he earned a Master's degree in government from California State University, Sacramento. Dymally earned his doctorate in human behavior from United States International University in San Diego(now Alliant International University).[3]


In the tightly contested race for Lt. Governor in 1978, Dymally's bid for re-election was derailed when Michael Franchetti, an aide to State Senator George Deukmejian, floated a false rumor that Dymally was about to be indicted. The story, coming days before the election, harmed the Dymally campaign, and Dymally lost to Republican Mike Curb. Franchetti later said that the source of the rumor was a Los Angeles Times reporter, who called the Justice Department trying to confirm its authenticity. Franchetti could not substantiate the rumor but included it in a report. The report was then passed to Dymally's opponent and later to a television reporter. Then-Attorney General Younger filed a letter of reprimand in Franchetti's personnel records, accusing him of a breach of responsibility.[5]
Dymally was an old friend of Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones.[6] When Jones decided to move his congregation to Jonestown,Guyana, Dymally "wrote the Guyanese prime minister to reassure him that Jones was an upstanding citizen."[6] The Jonestown compound would be the site of the mass suicide of over 900 people on November 18, 1978.[6]
In the 1990s Dymally served as a paid lobbyist for the country of Mauritania, attempting to present the country as engaged in abolishing every remnant of slavery.[7]
Dymally came out of retirement and returned to the California State Assembly in 2002 when Assemblyman Carl Washington wasterm limited. He served for six years and then tried to return to the State Senate in 2008. However, he was defeated in the Democratic primary for State Senate election by Rod Wright. He died in Los Angeles, CA and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, CA.[8][9]