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8:56 pm, Dec 06
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Former History-Making City Manager Dies at 76

City & State

Portrait of Richard Knight Jr. | Image from Knight Waste Services

Dallas’ first Black city manager, Richard Knight Jr. died on Monday. The news was confirmed by Knight’s son Marcus, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Marcus did not reveal the cause of his father’s death but said he and other relatives were planning to notify other family members and acquaintances of Knight.

Knight, 76, served as Dallas’ assistant city manager for four years before becoming city manager in 1986. He left the city’s top administrator role in 1990.

According to DNM, the 76-year-old had planned to leave his role as acting city manager in Dallas and follow then out-going city manager, Charles Anderson, to Dallas Area Rapid Transit when the City Council offered him the full-time role in 1986.

As part of Knight’s accomplishment as city manager, he led Dallas through its toughest economic period while repairing relationships between the Dallas Police Department and the city’s community of color. Knight left the role of city manager in 1990 and took up an executive job at Caltex Petroleum Corp.

Knight was born in Georgia and was an army veteran who served in Vietnam. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Fort Valley State University in Georgia. He gained his master’s degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred sent a tweet on Tuesday describing Knight as a dedicated public servant who broke barriers and worked for a better Dallas.

Allred also praised Knight’s effort in Dallas in his tweet, saying, “from the Cotton Bowl to the Convention Center,” the city is influenced by the 76-year-old’s effort.

Mayor Eric Johnson also described Knight as a trailblazer who spent his life serving Dallas. Johnson added that Knight’s selection as the first African American city manager in Dallas history helped show what was possible.