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. 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. The exhibit was produced by James Madison University students and their professors, Dr. Mollie Godfrey and Dr. Seán McCarthy, working in close collaboration with countless community members and the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project in association with Billo Harper. The exhibit opened on April 25, 2016, and is permanently housed in the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center.
For more information on the history of Lucy F. Simms and the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center, visit Celebrating Simms, the Story of the Lucy F. Simms School
Center Office Hour:
Facility Holiday and Event Closings- Please call 540-437-9213 for questions regarding holiday and event closings. Closings are also posted to the Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Facebook.