Roy C. Blackburn was a member of the Oakland Police Department from 1943 to 1970, and was an administrator at the jail division for 27 years, where he won a special award for streamlining the bail-out process.

Born in Oakland, California, Blackburn attended the University of California, Berkeley.

During the early 1930s, he worked as Langston Hughes's secretary.

He became a clerk and worked for the State Relief Administration and was appointed Director of Negro Publicity for the World's Fair in Los Angeles, California.

Following the position with the World's Fair, Blackburn served as the Pacific Coast Manager for the African-American tenor, Roland Hayes.

Blackburn participated in many different political, charitable, and religious organizations in Oakland.  He served as a member of the Republican State Convention in 1936 and as a leader of the Young Republican Movement in the East Bay.  In addition, he was very active in the Alameda County Central Committee of the Republican Party.

Blackburn also devoted many years of service to the Board of Trustees of First AME Church and to the Board of Directors of the Fannie Wall Children's Home and Day Nursery, serving as president of the board for fifteen years.

Roy C. Blackburn was the brother of Maxine Blackburn.