Over the course of some of the most eventful decades in American history, Ron Dellums was able to pull off what few have done in any of the positions he commanded. He fought against injustice at home and abroad, spoke out against U.S. military exploits when doing so was costly and unpopular, and served effectively as both an elected official and an activist. He was a lifelong champion for the cause of peace who never lost sight of those whose interests he was trusted to serve or disowned his radical roots.

On Monday, Dellums died of cancer at age 82 at his home in Washington, D.C., where for several terms in Congress he had secured his legacy as a principled politician—seemingly an oxymoron or even an out-and-out mythical creature in the current moment. The New York Times confirmed as much in an obituary that commemorated how Dellums “won a dozen re-election campaigns and the sometimes grudging respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle. His voting record also won virtually straight A’s from labor, consumer, women’s and environmental groups.”

Tuesday’s edition of the “Democracy Now!” newscast included highlights from his time coming into his own in the Bay Area during the civil rights movement, to the anti-Vietnam actions he took on the floor of Congress, through his opposition of apartheid in South Africa and his 2007-11 stint as mayor of Oakland, Calif. Watch the video clip above for Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales’ wide-ranging tribute to Dellums. (And listen closely for Dellums’ mention of a certain “bad dude” he met in the late ’60s.)

Click here to view an excerpt from a 2006 interview with Dellums conducted for the Nation Institute, courtesy of the Activist Video Archive


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