IBLC mourns loss of cherished colleague, former State Rep. Mae Dickinson

January 18, 2017 Cherrish Pryor, IBLC, John Bartlett

For immediate release:
Jan. 17, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis), chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC), today issued the following statement on the passing of former State Rep. Mae Dickinson (D-Indianapolis):

“Mae Dickinson was one of the towering figures of respect for African-Americans in this state. As a person who spoke out on behalf of African-Americans and women with great regularity, she was a trail-blazer in every sense of the word.

“Her legacy is long, wide, and deep. She was a person who believed in community activism, and was a member of a family that understood the value of participation in the legislative process. Mae represented the 95th District in Indianapolis from 1992 to 2007. Her husband, Valjean Dickinson, served in the Indiana House in 1965, representing St. Joseph County. Her father-in-law, Jesse Dickinson, represented St. Joseph County as a member of the Indiana House and Senate.

“This demonstrates the belief that it was important to speak on behalf of those whose voices were often not heard, and the necessity of being part of a process that could effect change.

“Whenever anyone thought of Mae, they remembered her great beauty and warmth and wisdom. They also remembered she was a force to be reckoned with. Her legacy – which includes kinship care, protecting victims of domestic battery, and criminal history checks for school employees – was marked by her determination to do what was right and her unwillingness to back down in the face of great odds.

“We will miss her counsel and the example she set – as an African-American woman. At a time when we are remembering Dr. King, it is fitting that we also recall Mae Dickinson as a woman who set a shining example for people of all races and all genders.”

State Rep. John Bartlett (D-Indianapolis), who succeeded Dickinson as 95th District representative, issued the following statement:

“It was my great pleasure to follow Mae Dickinson in serving the 95th Indiana House District, but it was my good fortune to have her as a friend for more than 30 years. Mae was like a second mother to me, and I cannot say enough about her value as a mentor. She was the first person to guide me through the maze of the Indiana General Assembly, and she was the one who played a role in helping me understand the value of service to the community. She was a giant, and I hope to honor her memory every day.”