Senator Robert “Bobby” C. Blackburn was appointed in January, 1965 to complete the term of John C. Smith, who resigned from the Ohio Senate when he was elected to Montgomery County Commissioner. Prior to his appointment, Blackburn served as Dayton Municipal Court Bailiff for 14 years. He was the first African-American senator from his district, and only the second African American to serve in the Ohio Senate.
Blackburn was born in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated from Dunbar High School. He continued his education at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Senator Blackburn was tragically killed in an automobile accident in October 1965, as he was traveling to Columbus for a speaking engagement. His untimely death elicited bipartisan response from the Senate. Senator Blackburn was survived by his wife, Mary, their son, James.