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Richard D. Navies, I

Biography written by Kelly Elaine Navies

Richard Darrell Navies was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 17, 1943 to Rose Carter and Edward Navies. However, when this marriage dissolved, Rose moved to Detroit, Michigan where she eventually met and married John D. Payne. At the age of 10, young Richard joined his mother and step-father in Detroit, Michigan. An older brother, Edward, stayed in St. Louis with their father, but in Detroit, Richard became the eldest of five siblings, two brothers (Charles and Hubert) and two sisters (Cheryl and Patricia).

Richard, a voracious reader, inherited a love of learning from his mother’s side of the family. Several of her siblings were educators, including her eldest brother John Carter, who held a PhD in Romance languages. Navies had attended segregated elementary schools in St. Louis, MO, but he often bragged that these schools had given him a head start and he was far above grade level when he moved up North. Not surprisingly then, Richard was accepted into Cass Technical High School, Detroit’s prestigious academic magnet school. There, he majored in Architecture and was on the school’s track team. Interestingly, Navies attended Cass the same time as his future first wife, Constance Elaine Gregory, and future best pal, Charles Smith, but the three of them did not meet until after high school. Diana Ross, of Motown fame, was also a student at Cass during this time.

After graduating from high school in 1961, Navies enrolled in Wayne State University where he received a B.S. in English and an M.S. in Education, with a focus on English and History. While at Wayne State, he was a NCAA champion hurdler on the track team and he was also a founding member of the Wayne State chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

Before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Richard had taught English at Washington Trade School in Detroit where he won literary awards for teaching poetry to students labeled unteachable by the mainstream school system. In early 1969, he was interviewed and selected by four school districts in California. He almost chose the San Francisco school district, but when he stopped in Berkeley with his first wife and young daughter, he immediately fell in love with the quaint, progressive city and decided to stay.

After teaching one year at Berkeley High School, in 1970, he was tapped to coordinate the citywide Ethnic Studies programs of the Berkeley Unified School District which included the Black Studies program at Berkeley High School. The Black Studies program at BHS had started in 1969 as the result of protests led by students, the community and members of the Black Panthers organization. After the elimination of most of these programs throughout the district, Navies became the chair of the sole surviving Department of African American Studies in a U.S. public high school ( The Black Studies dept. became African American Studies in 1975).

A passionate educator who contributed countless hours to the development of all his students, Richard Darrell Navies distinguished himself as a pioneer in the field of African American

Studies. While he was the coordinator of the program from 1970 until his untimely demise in 1991, the program grew to include a full range of courses including African American History, African American Literature, Drama, African Dance, Swahili, an oratory course titled, “Black Gold, Black Soul, Black Dynamite” and a student paper, The Ujamaa.

Navies had four children; Kelly Elaine and Richard D Navies II with his first wife Constance Elaine Gregory (d. 2016) and Robert Uhuru Greene and Hannibal Carter Navies with second wife, Brenda Wiggins (now, Isis Navies). They remember him as a gregarious, loving, and generous father who loved the outdoors and cooked like a chef. After a valiant fight and unsuccessful effort to find a bone marrow donor, Navies succumbed to Leukemia on March 26, 1991, surrounded by family and friends in his home on Sequoyah Rd in Oakland, California.

William "Bill" Patterson

William "Bill" Patterson was appointed to the East Bay Municipal Utility District's (EBMUD) Board of Directors in September 1997, representing Ward 6 which is comprised of portions of Oakland including East Oakland and the area south of Park Blvd/5th Avenue to the San Leandro boundary. He was later elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and was appointed in 2016 and 2020. He previously served as President of the EBMUD Board of Directors from 2005 to 2007 and as Vice President from 2003 to 2005 and 2015 to 2018.

Director Patterson is a supporter of EBMUD staff and is proud of their accomplishments. He advocates for diversity and equality in employment and in contracting. Director Patterson serves on the EBMUD Legislative/Human Resources and Finance/Administration Committees. He serves on the boards for the Freeport Regional Water Authority and the Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority. He also serves as a representative for the Business Forum and Oakland Chamber of Commerce. Director Patterson is immediate past vice president of EBMUD’s Retirement Board where he served from September 1997 to January 2015.  

Director Patterson is widely recognized as one of Oakland's civic champions. He is a current member of Oakland’s Urban Strategies Council Board of Directors. He has been actively involved in many political campaigns and community organizations for more than four decades.

Bill served as a three-term President of the Oakland National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as well as several other seats and currently sits on the Executive Board as Environmental Affairs Chair. He is a retired Oakland Parks and Recreation manager, who has been credited widely by many superstar athletes who have gone on to gain Hall of Fame recognition, including the likes of basketball's Bill Russell and baseball's Joe Morgan. He was also a close confidant and adviser to the late Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson, the city's first African-American mayor. He has also served on the Oakland Public Ethics and Parks and Recreation Commissions and Workforce Investment Board.

Patterson received his bachelor's and master's degrees from San Francisco State University and pursued graduate study at UC Berkeley. He resides in Oakland; he remains active in numerous community activities such as serving as a Board Member of the Joe Morgan Youth, the Oakland East Bay Black Elected Officials Council and as an advisor to Mayor Libby Schaaf. Mr. Patterson a member  of Oakland’s Rotary Club #3, Golden Heritage Life Member of the NAACP, and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

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