Roebuck’s death mourned by members of Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus

Former PLBC chair remembered as a champion of education

HARRISBURG, May 16 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements regarding the passing of former PLBC Chair James R. Roebuck:

Said PLBC Chair Napoleon Nelson (D-Montgomery):

“James R. Roebuck was a true statesman, a lawmaker who was a tireless advocate for his West Philadelphia neighbors and for every resident of this Commonwealth.

“His legacy, particularly as a champion of our education system and the young people that he poured his soul into, will undoubtedly leave its mark on our society for generations. His long-lasting tenure as the Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee perfectly embodied our caucus’s approach to lifelong learning. It is heartening to see his life being celebrated by colleagues and community leaders throughout Pennsylvania. In 2021, the PA Legislative Black Caucus renamed our student scholarship in his honor. Nearly two dozen high school students from Black and brown communities from across the state will be awarded an investment in their continued academic pursuits in the coming week, a fitting testament to the inspiring work of Chairman Roebuck.

“His impact as a pioneer, mentor and friend within the PA Legislative Black Caucus will undoubtedly be remembered and cherished. We have lost a true thought leader, a shining example of servant leadership that current and future members will surely aspire to. Our deepest condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Added state Rep. Rick Krajewski, who succeeded Roebuck as the representative in the 188th District:

“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my predecessor, James Roebuck.

“Jim was a longtime champion for public education in Philadelphia, fighting against Republican budget cuts for years, and his leadership formed the foundation of our fight for school funding today.

“He and his wife were mainstays of the West Philadelphia community. He will be greatly missed and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to carry on his legacy in the 188th Legislative District.”

Roebuck served the 188th Legislative District in Philadelphia from 1985-2020 and is a past chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and the House Education Committee.

Established as an official caucus in 1973, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was formed to empower Black legislators and to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of Black, Latino and other Pennsylvanians of color. Many of the original members were afraid to meet in an open forum and had previously met in secret to establish a shared legislative agenda.