Joshua Rose (September 11,1906 - April 13, 1987) had a lengthy and extremely productive career with the Oakland YMCA; was the first African American to serve on the Board of Playground Directors, of which he later became Chairman; was the first African American on the Oakland City Council; and was an active member in many community organizations.
Born in Lexington, Virginia, the son of George and Mary Charles Rose, the family later moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Rose attended Schenley High School Rose received his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh while working part-time at the local steel mills and the Pittsburgh YMCA, graduating in 1937.
The Pittsburgh YMCA job lead to Rose's first position after graduation at the Monclair, New Jersey YMCA.
Rose and his family moved from New Jersey to Oakland in 1939, where he raised funds for the establishment of a branch of the Oakland YMCA to serve the African American community. The Northwest Branch (aka the Northwest Oakland YMCA and the M. Robinson Baker YMCA), as it was eventually called, opened at a temporary location at 36th Street and San Pablo Avenue in 1947. Later in the 1940's the branch moved to 3265 Market Street. Many new programs were inaugurated under Rose's leadership, such as summer day camps that combined traditional elements of arts and crafts, with sports and outdoor excursions, and a camping trip to Yosemite. Rose worked throughout his career to provide many Oakland youth with constructive activities and summertime employment through the YMCA's programs. In 1967 Rose retired as Associate General Secretary of the Metropolitan Branch of the YMCA.
He married Virginia Craft Rose; their daughter is historian and author Mary Ellen Butler. She wrote a book about her parents: Heart and Soul: The Remarkable Courtship and Marriage of Josh and Virginia Craft Rose.
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On April 13, 1987 Joshua Rose died of complication from Parkinson's Disease.