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Oral Histories

In addition to the below oral histories conducted by Harrisonburg community members, the Celebrating Simms project is currently working with local K-12 educators to launch a student-led oral history collection project that will help preserve community memories of the Lucy F. Simms School and will support local middle and high school History and English curricula. Check back soon for more updates!

Related local oral history collections include the Lucy F. Simms Remembered collection, the African Americans in Harrisonburg collection, the Integration: the African American Experience in Harrisonburg, Virginia collection, and the African-American Oral History Collection.

Cheryl Metz Interview with Mary Awkard Fairfax, 2005

In 2005, Cheryl Metz with the Massanutten Regional Library sat down for an interview with Mary Awkard Fairfax. Mrs. Fairfax was 93 years old at the time. The original interview, available here, was shared with the Celebrating Simms project for digitization and transcription by Mrs. Fairfax's family. The interview is also available at the Central Branch of the Massanutten Regional Library

Lucy F. Simms School Oral Histories, 2022

In the summer of 2022, Celebrating Simms embarked on a year-long oral history project to celebrate and preserve the memories of students who attended Simms before it closed its doors. These recorded sessions were conducted by current high school students from Spotswood and Turner Ashby high schools in Rockingham County as part of their 2022-2023 African American History elective coursework. Interviewees include Howard Curry, Alice B. Davis, Sam Ewell and Elizabeth Rohrer, Billo Harper, Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson, Mary Ann Smith-Tucker, and Lowell Toliver.