With compassion, energy and a belief in the power of education, Rosa Blue P'72, P'77, P'84, P'84 has become a leader of the Geneva community, shaping the progress of the City, its people and its future. She stands among the great women of our nation who have proven that one person can and does make a difference.
She was born in Madison, Florida, in 1932, and her father liked to joke that Rosa Blue was debating and questioning the world from the moment of her birth. Her father encouraged her to "hold her point" as well as to always tell the truth. In 1949 when she and her husband moved to Geneva, Rosa Blue continued to speak out when she felt she or others had been treated unjustly.
A local civil rights leader, Rosa Blue's inclusive philosophy of life – that differences can be overcome through collaboration – has guided her efforts in Geneva for 60 years. A mother of seven, four of whom attended Hobart and William Smith, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that all children have access to education. She has served on community boards and action groups to improve low-income housing and increase available daycare, while around her kitchen table, she has taught women how to get a mortgage and how to get their children into college. During the turbulent 60s, she led trips to march in demonstrations in Washington D.C., and worked to create equality in Geneva.
The first female president of the Geneva NAACP, Rosa Blue served as executive secretary of the Geneva Human Rights Commission for more than 30 years. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., in 1974 she helped organize the first march in Geneva dedicated to his memory, 12 years before the national holiday was first observed. Through the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, she helped establish a scholarship fund for local, black students, which continues to this day. To date, more than 200 local students have been sent to college through these efforts. She remains an advocate for the recruitment of black civil servants in law enforcement and open communication and outreach to the black community.
Rosa Blue's achievements are significant. She has received the Loftus C. Carson Human Rights Award given by the New York State Division of Human Rights; the Heritage Award given by The Martin Luther King Committee; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Geneva Area Branch of the NAACP; the Community Service Award from Geneva's NAACP; and the Springstead Award from the Geneva Rotary Club. In 2007, the students of Hobart and William Smith presented her with the Award of Excellence for her outstanding commitment to the Geneva community.