Ron Dellums ’53

Ron Dellums, Class of 1953

Ron Dellums, Class of 1953, served as Oakland’s forty-eighth mayor, and from 1971 to 1998, was elected to thirteen terms as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Northern California’s 9th Congressional District.

After graduating from Tech, Dellums served in the Marine Corps from 1954 to 1956. He received his M.S.W. from UC Berkeley in 1962, worked as a social worker and political activist, and held a seat on the Berkeley City Council from 1967 to 1970. In 1971, Dellums was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California and the first openly socialist candidate to win a seat since World War II.

Dellums was an outspoken supporter of liberal causes and this support earned him a spot on President Nixon’s “Enemies List.” But he was revered on both sides of the aisle as a hardworking man of integrity and was especially well regarded for leading congressional struggles against South African apartheid. After a short stint as a legislative lobbyist in DC, Dellums was elected Mayor in of Oakland in 2006 at age 70. He served one term in office. He is now a Visiting Fellow at Howard University’s Ronald W. Walters Center, which focuses on the engagement of African Americans in the U.S. political process and on national and foreign policy.