Skip to content Skip to footer

Celebrating Simms

August 13-28, 2021

Celebrating Simms: The Story of the Lucy F. Simms School celebrates the life of pioneering African-American educator Lucy F. Simms and the school named in her honor. The permanent exhibit is installed at the Lucy F. Simms School in Harrisonburg. The traveling exhibition that continues to share the story throughout the community is now on view in the Rocktown History featured gallery. In September, the story will continue its travels in the local school system.

“Born enslaved in 1856, Lucy F. Simms went on to receive her degree from Virginia’s Hampton Institute, and eventually settled in Harrisonburg to teach over 1,800 students from three generations of families. The Lucy F. Simms School was built soon after her death and served African-American students from all over Rockingham County and beyond between 1938 and 1965. [Today, the school continues its mission as the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center.] This exhibit, spanning 150 years of history, tells the story of the school in terms of its place at the heart of local community life.” – Excerpted from Celebrating Simms, the companion website for the Celebrating Simms project.

To supplement the Celebrating Simms exhibition, several items from the HRHS-003 Lucy Simms Family Archive are on display. The signature to the left is from Lucy Simm’s Bible.

On Friday, August 13, 2021, a Virginia Historical Highway Marker was unveiled at the Lucy F. Simms Center in Harrisonburg to recognize Simms’ contributions to the Commonwealth.