Proposal to rename De Anza High building after influential judge Henry Ramsey Jr. set for hearing

Proposal to rename De Anza High building after influential judge Henry Ramsey Jr. set for hearing
Photo of the late judge and distinguished legal scholar Henry Ramsey Jr.

A public hearing on a proposal to rename a De Anza High School building after the late Alameda County Superior Court judge Henry Ramsey Jr. is set for Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the school library, according to the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).

The building, known now as Building 10, currently houses the Henry Ramsey Jr. Law Academy. The district is going through a public process to decide whether to display Ramsey’s name on the outside of the building, said Charles Ramsey, who is the late judge’s son and current president of the WCCUSD Board of Education.

The law academy, according to the school district, teaches students to “learn and advance together as a cohort, working together to prepare for the college or career of their choice.”

Henry Ramsey Jr., whose storied career included integrating the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office in the 1960s, died in March at age 80 following a massive stroke, according to the Contra Costa Times. He was dean of Howard University School of Law in the 1990s and had previously studied and taught at UC Berkeley’s law school. He served on Berkeley’s city council during the 1970s.

In the 1980s, the late judge led a group of African-American Richmond police officers in a successful discrimination lawsuit against the city, the Times reported.

Charles Ramsey said he was lucky to have a father who had risen from poverty but refused to forget where he had come from.

“He came from very difficult circumstances, not knowing his father while growing up in poverty,” Charles Ramsey said Thursday.

The late judge gave his children both a father and a better life, said Charles Ramsey, who has been with the school district board for more than 21 years and is running for a Richmond City Council seat in November.

What Charles most appreciated about his father is he taught his children to give back to the community.

“There were people who helped my dad, and he never forgot that,” Charles Ramsey said. “He taught us that you have to give back, and that’s what I try to do.”