Congressional Black Caucus Founder Passes at 82

FILE - In this Oct. 30, 1970 file photo Democratic Congressional candidate Ron Dellums, his wife, Roscoe, left, clasp hands with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, right, widow of Martin Luther King in Oakland, Calif. Mrs. King appeared at a press conference in Oakland to endorse Dellum's candidacy for the Oakland-Berkeley congressional district. Dellums, a fiery anti-war activist who championed social justice as Northern California's first black congressman, died Monday, July 30, 2018, at age 82 from cancer, according to a longtime adviser. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 30, 1970 file photo Democratic Congressional candidate Ron Dellums, his wife, Roscoe, left, clasp hands with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, right, widow of Martin Luther King in Oakland, Calif. Mrs. King appeared at a press conference in Oakland to endorse Dellum’s candidacy for the Oakland-Berkeley congressional district. Dellums, a fiery anti-war activist who championed social justice as Northern California’s first black congressman, died Monday, July 30, 2018, at age 82 from cancer, according to a longtime adviser. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)

The NAACP is saddened at the passing of social justice advocate Ron Dellums at the age of 82.

Mr. Dellums served as a former Democratic Congressman and was one of the 13 Black lawmakers that founded the Congressional Black Caucus. He served in Congress from 1971 to 1999 and he led the Caucus from 1989 to 1991. He also served as Oakland, California’s third Black mayor from 2007 to 2011.

Mr. Dellums was a relentless advocate for communities of color, low-income communities, civil rights and social justice; who did not shy away from issues just because they seemed controversial. He worked with Rep. Bennie Thompson to end apartheid in South Africa. He also served as the Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee although he was an anti-war critic.

“Whether as an activist, Congressman or Mayor of Oakland, Ron Dellums created space for our voices to be heard. It is said that the current generation stands on the shoulders of giants, Ron was a giant who blazed a path to empowerment that we still walk on today,” said NAACP Board Chairman Leon W. Russell.