Harrisonburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Lucy Frances Simms
Lucy Frances Simms, a prominent and devoted African American educator, was born approximately one mile from this location in 1855. She, her mother, and her grandmother were slaves at "Hill Top," the Robert Gray farm.
Simms and Booker T. Washington were fellow students at Hampton Institute. Following her graduation in 1877, Simms began teaching school at Zenda, northeast of Harrisonburg. The following year she returned to the city and taught school in the basement of a church. She moved to Effinger Street SChool when it opened in 1882 and taught there until her death in 1934. During her 57-year career she taught 1,800 students and only missed one half-day to illness.
Simms is buried near her birthplace in Newtown Cemetery. The Simms School building, an African American school during segregation, was named in her honor. Both Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Schools recognize an outstanding teacher with the Lucy F. Simms Educator of the Year Awards.
The Elizabeth Street Parking Deck mural project was a collaborative initiative between Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance,
Andre Shank, a Harrisonburg native now living in Richmond has been involved in multiple mural and public art projects in Virginia and elsewhere. Harrisonburg resident Paul Somers partnered with the mural conceptualization and installation. Shenandoah Paint & Decorating Center and Benjamin Moore donated the paint and supplies.
Erected by Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance; the Arts Council of the Valley; and the City of Harrisonburg.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Education • Women.
Location. 38° 27.024′ N, 78° 52.029′ W. Marker is in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of North Federal Street and East Elizabeth Street, on the right when traveling north on North Federal Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 93 E Elizabeth St, Harrisonburg VA 22802, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Court Square & Springhouse (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Harrisonburg (about 600 feet away); Charlotte Harris Lynched, 6 March 1878 (about 700 feet away); In Honor of Charles Watson Wentworth (about 700 feet away); The Big Spring (approx. 0.2 miles away); Anthony Hockman House (approx. 0.2 miles away); McNeill’s Rangers (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harrisonburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 18, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 29 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 18, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A photo of the mural • Can you help?