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Alpha Phi Alpha’s Ron Dellums, Former U.S. Congressman and Mayor of Oakland, Dies at Age 82

Black greekdom is currently mourning the passing of Alpha Phi Alpha brother Ron Dellums who served as a U.S. Congressman and the 3rd Black mayor of Oakland.

Dellums was a Fall 1959 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha and a major player in shaping the political landscape of the Oakland into what it is today.

Dellums was born on November 24, 1935 in Oakland, went to McClymonds High and Oakland Tech where he graduated in 1953, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and earned a master’s degree in social work from UC Berkeley.

He was elected to the U.S. House beginning in November of 1970 and was re-elected for 13 terms, finally stepping down in 1998. He would then go on to be elected as the mayor of Oakland in 2007.

Dellums was the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California and the first openly socialist successful non-incumbent Congressional candidate since World War II.

He was a fierce opponent of the apartheid in South Africa and created legislation to put sanctions on the South African government.

“When President Ronald Reagan vetoed Dellums’ Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, a Democratic-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate overrode Reagan’s veto, the first override of a presidential foreign policy veto in the 20th century.”

“If it’s radical to oppose the insanity and cruelty of the Vietnam War, if it’s radical to oppose racism and sexism and all other forms of oppression, if it’s radical to want to alleviate poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, and other forms of human misery, then I’m proud to be called a radical,” he once stated.

The national headquarters of Alpha Phi Alpha released a statement today via their social media accounts mourning their brother and celebrating his impact and legacy.

“Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity mourns the death of our Brother, Ronald Dellums (FA ’59 ΔΟ), a very successful U.S. Congressman and 3rd Black Mayor of Oakland who spearheaded efforts to improve socio-economic status in Oakland. Rest in Peace, Brother Dellums,” they wrote.

Other notable organizations and people took to social media to pay their respects to the political leader.

Phi Beta Sigma’s Reverend Al Sharpton and Bill Clinton reached out to pay their respect.

Dellums’ fellow brother of Alpha Phi Alpha, Roland Martin, also took to twitter to post this:

Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Senator Kamala Harris payed her respect upon hearing the news.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ron Dellums’ family. He was an unapologetic leader and activist, who always spoke and fought for civil and human rights. May he rest in power” the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund tweeted.

Official Congressional portrait of Dellums.

We ask that you keep Dellums’ family, friends and fraternity brothers in your thoughts. We also ask that you leave your condolences and share your memories of him so that we can celebrate his legacy collectivley.

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