A Fine Tribute to a Fine Woman

On March 6th the Lucile M. Bluford Library (30th and Prospect) was reopened after extensive renovations on a cool but glorious Saturday morning. I could feel Ms. Bluford watching down on us with a big smile. Ms. Bluford, former long time Editor of the KC Call Newspaper, would be so proud to see how wonderful her new building looks and how accessible books, computers, magazines are to children and adults who live in the neighborhood. Ms. Bluford was all about learning and discussing what was happening all around the city and nation. She also was a lady of action and who was a tireless advocate for causes she believed in.

I was fortunate to know Ms. Bluford. In 1995 I was working for the Kansas City Business Journal and one day my phone rang and it was Ms. Bluford. I certainly knew of Ms. Bluford but we were not close friends. In her own direct way she asked what I knew about publishing a newspaper. I was honest and said that I had a lot to learn about the newspaper industry. She asked if I wanted to come over to the Call and she offered to educate me about the newspaper business. Over the next three years I would spend an hour or so four or five times per year sitting at Ms. Bluford’s cluttered desk. We would talk about story ideas, she would critique our paper, she would give me ideas of people in the community I needed to meet – in short, she became a mentor to me and she became my friend.

Having a library named after Ms. Bluford is a perfect tribute to this remarkable person. This library is an extension of Ms. Bluford’s life and passion for all of us who have followed and learned from her in our journey through life.


Thanks Steve for the nice tribute to a wonderful woman. I challenge all readers of this blog to get outside of your comfort zone and mentor someone in your field and encourage them to be a better professional or human being. I am lucky enough to know Steve Roling personally, and he has had many great mentors in his life that have lead him to be the solid leader/ man that he is today. Tom Butterfield, Tom Eagleton, Mr. K, Ms. Bluford… the list goes on. Steve has also been lucky enough to have people believe in him even when he didn’t have experience to back the job at hand. Believing in people is a gift that Ms Blueford had and she chose to believe in you Steve… you are lucky to have had her mentorship and friendship. The Lucile M. Bluford Library is a fine tribute to the Urban Core. It is one of the few public places that allows homeless people to reside during the day while the shelters are closed. Being a social service provider and working with the homeless and other families in the urban core, I can tell you how much they NEED all the resources put into that library. If you believe in the homeless, the hungry, and the racially oppressed....maybe they might believe that they too can do something with their lives. I am so tired of Kansas City throwing away this poor urban core African American population… it is SO great to see something different….FINALLY! If we believe in the beautiful children then they will believe in themselves; and this is not a message these children hear very often--if ever. This library is not only a tribute to a fine woman it is a statement in the inner city that we care about the urban core and we want to educate them and not bury them or send them to prison. I hope this is a message that can continue to grow in this part of our dear city. It truly makes me believe that we have HOPE to give to our oppressed populations.

Thank you for continuing her legacy and mentoring leaders to become effective change agents in our community!

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About Me

Steve Roling

Steve Roling

Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.