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  • Administrative Information
  • Ronald V. Dellums and His Congressional Career
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization
  • Controlled Access Headings
  • Bibliography

  • Title: Ronald V. Dellums Congressional Papers
    Date Range : 1971-1999 inclusive
    Collection number: MS 64
    Creator: Dellums, Ronald V., 1935-
    Extent: 432 linear ft. (432 boxes)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    659 14th Street
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: The Ronald V. Dellums Congressional Papers are evidence of Dellums' 27-year career (1971-1998) as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It includes committee files, constituent correspondence, legislative bills, and personal files relating to his work and legislative achievements in the U.S. Congress. Highlights include photographs and memorabilia from Dellums' distinguished career and life.
    Shelf Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the archivist at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland at 510-637-0198.
    Language: Materials are in English.

    Administrative Information


    The collections are open for research by appointment only. Appointments may be made by calling 510-637-0198.


    Additional materials may be added to this collection as donations are received.

    Additional Materials

    This collection contains only those materials suitable for treatment as archives. For more information on additional materials not housed in the archives, contact the archivist at 510-637-0198.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the African American Museum & Library at Oakland. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ronald V. Dellums Congressional Papers, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Ronald V. Dellums

    Processing History

    Processing of this fonds began in the Spring of 2005 and is still in progress. This is the first collection guide produced for this fonds. All items are arranged in record series as recommended by the "Records Management Manual for Members of the U.S. House of Representatives." As a result, the scope and content notes for the individual series have been paraphrased from this manual. All materials have been housed in archival -quality boxes, folders and other enclosures. All boxes are standard record carton dimensions unless noted otherwise. Most metal fasteners such as brads, staples, and paper clips have been removed and replaced by plastiklips or other fasteners where appropriate or no fasteners at all. All audio and visual material has been stored separately and in appropriate preservation storage settings. All the containers have been labeled and the processed fonds is reflected in the Container List. This collection was processed by the following archival interns from the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS), working under the supervision of Lecturer Lori A. Lindberg: Katherine Dunham, Veronica Ehrenreich, Kate Hedstrom, Jennifer Johnson, Kate Kim, Laurie Skophammer, and Supriya Wronkiewicz. The front matter and descriptive information for the Guide were written by Supriya Wronkiewicz and edited by Lori A. Lindberg. EAD encoding of the Guide was produced by MLIS student Eric Milenkiewicz as part of the course requirements for LIBR 284 - Seminar in Archives and Records Management at SJSU SLIS.
    A debt of gratitude must be paid to the dozens of students who have worked with this material over two years and counting as part of the processing practicum component of the SJSU SLIS course LIBR 256 - Archives and Manuscripts. The many MLIS students who have sifted through vast amounts of material and assisted the lead archivist in the appraisal, weeding and rehousing of this fonds have contributed tremendously to this processing effort.
    This fonds is arranged chronologically within series, according to Congressional Session wherever applicable and in subject order where appropriate. Materials with no discernible dates have been placed at the start of their respective series.

    Ronald V. Dellums and His Congressional Career

    (This history has been adapted from information published on two World Wide Web sites: Dellums' entry on Wikipedia.com (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Dellums), and Dellums' biographical sketch from The Institute of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people/Dellums/Dellums.html).)
    Ronald Vernie Dellums was born on November 24, 1935 and lived most of his life in Alameda County, California. Following high school, he joined the Marines and was discharged in 1956. After his discharge Dellums went to college under the GI Bill, earning an AA from Oakland City College (1958), a BA from San Francisco State College (1960), and a Master of Arts in Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley (1962). He worked as a psychiatric social worker for the California Department of Mental Hygiene before being elected to the Berkeley City Council in 1967. Dellums was elected to the House of Representatives in 1970 and served in 14 Congressional Sessions until his retirement on January 3, 1999. During his tenure in the House, Dellums held several leadership positions. Significant leadership positions included service as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and as a member of the House District of Columbia Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the latter of which he co-founded. Dellums has taught at San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley. He is presently the Mayor of Oakland, California.
    A known pacifist and socialist, Dellums was noted throughout his congressional tenure for his strong views regarding peace through diplomacy and disarmament. As the chair of the HASC, he was a driving force behind a great amount of anti-aggression legislation. Examples of legislative peace initiatives include his opposition to the deployment of the MX ICBM missile. Funding for deployment of the missile was rejected by Congress in 1976 and again in 1981. In 1985 Dellums was responsible for supporting Congressional rejection of the deployment of the second wave of the missile system. The MX missile program was eventually scrapped by the Air Force. Other peace measures included limiting funding for production of the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, spearheading legislation that culminated in no new acquisitions of the bomber following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1995. He came into the position of chair of the HASC via seniority and lost the position when the House switched control to a Republican majority following the 1994 elections.
    Important foreign policy activity initiated by Dellums focused on social justice. Dellums' firm stand against, and Congressional leadership in the ending of, U.S. support for the apartheid government in South Africa culminated in the passing of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. The bill had significant bipartisan support and was able to override a presidential veto from Ronald Reagan. Domestically, Dellums initiated and cosponsored legislation favoring civil liberties, the environment, and affirmative action. Another significant domestic policy contribution was the National Health Service Act. While ultimately vetoed, the Act has remained a significant model for the development of other comprehensive health policy initiatives.
    While Dellums enjoyed many successes during his congressional career, he was not without detractors. A major controversy in his early career resulted from an official visit to Grenada in 1982 at the invitation of socialist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Grenada was constructing an airstrip that Based on his visit, Dellums felt that Grenada posed no threat to the United States, sentiments that were later contradicted by a diary recovered following a U.S. Marine invasion stating that the airstrip in Grenada "will be used for Cuban and Soviet military." Compounding this was a letter from one of Dellums' chiefs-of-staff, Carlottia Scott, to the leader of Grenada, declaring Dellums' commitment to Grenada and admiration of Fidel Castro (only mentioned by first name). Conservative opponents considered these sentiments and Dellums' actions "treasonous". There were also allegations brought against him and one of his aides, John Apperson, regarding marijuana and cocaine use. Following an eight-month investigation, the allegations were dismissed based on lack of evidence.
    When Dellums retired as Congressman in 1999, he did so with accolades from several of his fellow Congressmen and Congresswomen, including tributes from Representatives Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA), Danny Davis (D-IL), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Tom DeLay (R-TX). Following his retirement from Congress Dellums worked as a lobbyist for a variety of companies and industries, some of which garnered public criticism. He announced his candidacy for Mayor of Oakland, California in October 2005. Following a two-week contentious ballot counting process, Dellums was unofficially announced Mayor-elect on June 16, 2006, winning with 50.18 of the vote. As of January 1 2007, he is serving officially in that capacity.

    Scope and Content

    The Ronald V. Dellums Congressional Papers consists of records, artifacts, memorabilia, and related items produced by activities undertaken during his 27-year career as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. These materials include various committee files, hearing and report books; correspondence with constituents and colleagues; sponsored or cosponsored legislative bills; personal files; staff files; press releases and other publications; and subject reference files.
    Significant items include original copies of correspondence and memoranda from fellow Congressmen, staff, and constituents, original copies of invitations to various functions, and photographs. Also included are memorabilia from Dellums' career and life (awards, plaques, certificates, Congressional and military commendations), video recordings of House Floor tributes upon his retirement from Congress and the notes and reports from his work overseeing the budgets of the Department of Defense.


    The collection is organized in 20 record series, divided into subseries when appropriate. Note: The processing of this fonds is still in progress, so this information is subject to change. The analog and the digital finding aids will be updated regularly. At present, the total processed volume (not including Memorabilia) is 47 boxes.
    1. Agency/Department files (1 box)
    2. Audio/Visual materials (1 box)
    3. Campaign files (1 box)
    4. Case Files (1 box)
    5. Clippings (3 boxes)
    6. Committee Files (6 boxes)
    7. Congressional Membership Organizations (1 box)
    8. Constituent Correspondence (5 boxes)
    9. Legislative files (8 boxes)
    10. Memorabilia (X boxes)
    11. Newsletters (1 box)
    12. Office Management files (1 box)
    13. Personal Files (5 boxes)
    14. Photographs (1 box)
    15. Press Files (2 boxes)
    16. Recommendations and Appointments (1 box)
    17. Speeches (1 box)
    18. Staff (2 boxes)
    19. State District (1 box)
    20. Subject Reference (4 boxes)
    21. Unprocessed materials (376 boxes)

    Controlled Access Headings

    Library of Congress Subject Headings

    Personal names:

    Dellums, Ronald V., 1935-
    Halterman, H. Lee
    Barnett, Ida Nell


    African Americans--Civil rights.
    African Americans--Politics and government.
    Berkeley (Calif.)--Politics and government.
    Black militant organizations--United States.
    Black Panther Party.
    Black power--United States.
    Civil rights movements--United States--History--20th century.
    Grenada--History--American Invasion, 1983.
    Legislators--United States--Biography.
    Oakland (Calif.)--Politics and government.
    Political participation--United States.
    Primaries--California--Case studies.
    United States.Congress.House.Committee on National Security--Officials and employees.
    United States.Congress.House--Biography.
    United States--Military Policy.
    United States--Politics and government--1945-1989.
    United States--Politics and government--1989-
    United States--Social conditions--1980-
    Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Atrocities.


    Additional information about and written by Ronald V. Dellums, from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/bibdisplay.pl?index=D000222):
    "Conversation with Ron Dellums" from the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people/Dellums/, 1991.
    "Ronald V. Dellums" in Black Americans in Congress, 1870-1989. Prepared under the direction of the Commission on the Bicentenary by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1991.
    Dellums, Ronald V. "The Responsibility of Black Politics."Black Scholar 10 (January/February 1979): 38-44.
    Dellums, Ronald V., and H. Lee Halterman. Lying Down with the Lions: A Public Life from the Streets of Oakland to the Halls of Power. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.
    Dellums, Ronald V., with R.H. (Max) Miller and H. Lee Halterman. Defense Sense: The Search For A Rational Military Policy. Cambridge, Mass.:Ballinger Publishing Company, 1983.
    Fitch, Bob. Right on Dellums! My dad goes to Congress. Photos and text by Bob and Lynne Fitch. Edited by Paul J. Deegan. Mankato, Minn.: Creative Educational Society, [1971].
    James, Victor V., Jr. "Cultural Pluralism and the Quest for Black Citizenship: The 1970 Ronald V. Dellums Congressional Primary Campaign."Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1975.
    Towell, Pat. "Dellums Walks a Delicate Line From Past to Chairmanship." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 51 (May 8, 1993): 1163-69.