Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell asks Assembly to adjourn in memory of Merv Dymally

January 10, 2013

Los Angeles – On January 10th Assemblymember Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) introduced a motion to adjourn the Assembly in memory of the late Mervyn M. Dymally, who died October 7, 2012, having served California as an Assemblymember (1963-1966 and 2003-2008), a State Senator (1967-1975), a U.S. Congressman (1981-1993) and as Lieutenant Governor (1975-1979). Dymally was the founder of the California Legislative Black Caucus, of which Mitchell is currently the elected chair.

A native of Trinidad, Dymally was born in 1926, immigrated to the United States, and began his career as a teacher of disabled children in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In 1962, he became the first foreign-born African American elected to the Assembly, thus launching a political career that would span five decades and four diverse offices.

As America's first black Lieutenant Governor since Reconstruction, he broke the color barrier, took his rightful seat among elected power brokers, and invited others to follow.

No greater tribute to his memory can be given than acknowledgement of how many members of Congress, the California Legislature and the City Halls of Los Angeles County were mentored, encouraged and advised by Dymally, the "honorary uncle" of Black L.A.

"His courtly presence and shrewd counsel never waned," said Assemblywoman Mitchell, who had known Dymally since the 1980s and acknowledged him as the 'honorary uncle' of Black Los Angeles. "He was our 'Senior Statesman' and I am proud to have known him."

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Alice, a son and daughter, three grandchildren, three sisters and two brothers. The motion to adjourn in Dymally's memory was co-authored by the six other Assemblymembers in the Black Caucus as well as by Asssemblymembers Atkins and Torres, and was passed by unanimous consent.

CONTACT: Charles Stewart, 310/342-1070 office, 310/251-4567 cell