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Lucy F. Simms biography to be a part of county schools curriculum

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:54 PM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — In October a former Rockingham County teacher wrote a biography about Lucy F. Simms, a former slave who grew up in Harrisonburg and later went on to become a teacher.

Simms would go on to the Hampton Institute, where she would study to become a teacher. After she graduated, she returned to the Shenandoah Valley and began to teach in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg schools.

The book is available for purchase at Rocktown History, but soon the community will be able to find it in the classrooms of Harrisonburg and Rockingham schools.

Beau Dickenson, the social studies supervisor with RCPS, said back in the fall, the underwriter of the project donated 30 copies for each 11th grade U.S. History class in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County high schools.

Dickenson said the school divisions already talk about Simms and her impact on education in the Valley, but this book will provide a local look at history.

“Now her life is a lens into what was it like to be born into enslavement, and then to be freed, and then to live during the Civil War, and to struggle during reconstruction,” Dickenson said.

On Tuesday, at the Rockingham County School Board meeting, Dickenson will present more on the biography and provide a copy to each member of the school board.

Dickenson said because of the pandemic, not many students have been able to pick up the book, but hopes in February as more students return to in-person classes, they will be able to learn more about Simms.

The book was a collaborative project between Dale MacAllister, Rockingham County Public Schools, Rocktown History, the Northeast Neighborhood Association, Bridgewater College and Lot’s Wife Publishing.

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