Melvin Dickson made the transition to join his ancestors on Oct. 25, 2018, in Berkeley, California. He was 77 years old.

A natural leader, Melvin Dickson summons the comrades to keep marching to one of the largest demonstrations ever held outside San Quentin Prison, known as Occupy San Quentin, on Feb. 20, 2012. California Highway Patrol had banned parking any closer than about a mile from the prison’s main gate, so protesters had to march a long way. With Melvin at the head of the march are Gerald Sanders, Jabari Shaw and Ibrahim Moss. – Photo: Malaika Kambon

Melvin was a long-time and dedicated member of the Black Panther Party, which shaped his thinking and commitment to the interests of all people for the rest of his life. After his service in the Party, Melvin spent the next 20 years as publisher of The Commemorator newspaper. A project of the Commemoration Committee for the Black Panther Party, founded by Melvin, it honors the legacy of the Black Panther Party.

By the end of his life, he had collected original copies of all issues of the Black Panther newspaper, published weekly for 13 years, maintaining the most significant such collection in the country.

Melvin fully embodied the politics that he taught – to end oppression and free all political prisoners. He created and maintained many programs in the community, such as the Little Bobby Hutton Literacy Program. He was the chair of the Oakland Jericho Chapter and a board member for the Solidarity Committee for Political Prisoner Jalil Muntaqim.

Three of the most inspiring leaders of the California Prison Movement – Elder Freeman and Melvin Dickson wearing a picture of George Jackson – are depicted here at the Occupy San Quentin rally facing off against a throng of prison guards standing just inside the main gate in amazement at the courage of the protesters. – Photo: Bill Hackwell

Melvin also supported the mission of many community organizations and peoples. He was always willing to lend a hand when help was needed. As a human being, our beloved elder, comrade, Baba was strong, humble and kind. He loved the community and especially focused on the children as the hope for the future.

Melvin is survived by his three brothers, John, David and Clarence, and his sister, Patricia, as well as a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. Though Melvin had no biological children, he mentored and supported many, many young people over his life, who came to see him as a father figure.

As we honor Melvin’s life and legacy, we hope that you will join us for this very special celebration: All Power to the People! Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, 2-6 p.m., at Met West High School, 314 E. 10th St., Oakland, CA 94606.

Please help with final expenses at Melvin’s GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/ebbcrp.

For further information, contact M. Gayle (Asali) Dickson at 510-478-7191 or artambassador01@gmail.com.

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