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The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally

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Information about The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally

Profile image of The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Assemblyman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Navy Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Holiday Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
Favorite Quote:
To Thine Own Self Be True, And It Must Follow, The Night, The Day, Thou Canst Not Be False To Any Man.

Birthplace

Born:
5/12/1926
Birth Location:
Bonasse,

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Assemblyman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Navy Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Holiday Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
Favorite Quote:
To Thine Own Self Be True, And It Must Follow, The Night, The Day, Thou Canst Not Be False To Any Man.

Birthplace

Born:
5/12/1926
Birth Location:
Bonasse
See how The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

California State Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally was born in Cedros, Trinidad on May 12, 1926 to a mother and father from Trinidad and India, respectively. While in Trinidad, Dymally was a staff reporter for The Vanguard, a newspaper published by the Oil Workers Trade Union. In 1946, he traveled to the United States and attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri to study journalism.

After leaving Lincoln University, Dymally traveled to California, where he resumed his education by earning a B.A. degree in education in 1954 from Los Angeles State College. After teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District for a number of years, Dymally became a field coordinator in 1960 for John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Two years later, he was elected to the California General Assembly, and in 1966, he became the first African American to serve in the California State Senate. As a State Senator, Dymally chaired a number of committees, including social welfare and veterans affairs committees. He also earned a master’s degree in government from California State University in 1969. In 1974, he again made history, when he was elected the first black lieutenant governor in California history. Though he failed to be reelected in 1978, Dymally went on to earn a Ph.D. from the United States International University in San Diego, and in 1980, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first foreign-born African American to serve in the U.S. Congress.

As a Congressman, Dymally served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he was the chair of the Subcommittee on International Operations. He also served on the Post Office and Civil Service Committee, as well as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus from 1986 to 1987. In 1991, Dymally was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as a representative to the United Nations, and he retired from Congress in 1992.

Since then, Dymally has remained active, having been named honorary consul to the Republic of Benin in 1993, as well as serving as a distinguished professor at Central State University in Ohio and as a member of the faculty at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. In 2003, Dymally was reelected to the California State Assembly, and in 2004, he became the chief assembly protocol officer.

Dymally was vice-president of the Pacific Century Institute, a non-profit organization that fosters education and policy dialogue for nations of the Pacific Rim. He and his wife, Alice, have two children and three grandchildren.

Mervyn Dymally passed away on October 7, 2012.

See how The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes growing up in Bonasse, British West Indies
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes religion in Trinidad
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes fishing in Cedros, British West Indies
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes the educational system in the British West Indies
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers the music of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally recalls his family's expectations while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally recalls his educational experience in Trinidad
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally recalls his early interest in journalism
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers his arrival in the United States
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers attending Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes the colleges he attended in California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally recalls his jobs as a college student
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers joining the Young Democrats
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes working for the Democratic Party
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally recalls running for the California State Assembly
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers his election to the California State Assembly
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers campaigning against police brutality in California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes legislation he worked on in the California State Assembly
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his work in the California State Senate
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes reforming the California State Senate
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes running for lieutenant governor of California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his 1980 U.S. Congressional race
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers advocating for the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers advocating for the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally recalls chairing the Congressional Black Caucus in 1986 and 1987
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his work as chairman of the African Subcommittee in the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes the campaign to save the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally recalls meeting Muammar Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally remembers meeting world leaders
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes the founding of the Joint Center for Political Studies in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes returning to Trinidad in 1992
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes working with the United National Congress in Trinidad
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes his position as honorary consul for Benin
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes race and partisanship in the United States
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally reflects upon his political career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mervyn M. Dymally describes how he would like to be remembered