By Beatrice Colastin Skokan and Jameatris Johnson
Creator: Simms, Bob (1927-)
Extent: 105.0 Boxes
Series I. Simms Family
Sub-series A. Photographs
Sub-series B. Correspondence and other documents
Sub-series C. Audio Cassettes
Series II. George Washington Carver School Photographs and Yearbooks
Series III. Community Relations Board
Series IV. Miami Inner City Minority Experience / Defense Race Relations Institute
Series V. Minority Inner City Marine Project
Sub-series A. Photographs
Sub-series B. Correspondence
Series VI. Bob Simms Daily Logs
Series VII. Judge Leah A. Simms Campaign Material
Sub-series A. Photographs
Sub-series B. Correspondence and Financial Reports
Sub-series C. Clippings
Series VIII. General "Chappie" James and family
Series IX. Negatives
Series X. Awards & Exhibits
Formats/Genres: Appointment books, Audiovisual materials, Civil rights - Florida - Miami-Dade County - Periodicals, Discrimination - Florida - Miami-Dade County - Periodicals, Negatives, Photographs, Slides (Photographs)
The Bob Simms Collection documents the life and activities of Robert H. Simms in the black communities in Coconut Grove and Miami and reflects his work with the Community Relations Board and the Defense Race Relations Institute. The Collection also contains campaign materials from Leah Simms, the first African American female judge in the state of Florida, and the "Glory in the Grove" photographs of people and events at the George Washington Carver elementary and high schools in Coconut Grove before desegregation. A final component of the collection includes photographs, correspondence and clippings of General "Chappie" James and his family. General James was the first four star African American General and married Dorothy Watkins.
Bob Simms was born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1927. Shortly after his birth, Bob Simms' parents Alberta (1888-1970) and Harry Simms (1884-1949) relocated to the community of Tuskegee, Alabama, as members of the music faculty. Harry Simms was one of Dr. Washington Carver's students in the class of 1907 and often took his youngest son Bob with him on visits to Dr. Carver's home.
Bob Simms moved to Florida in 1953 to join the faculty of the George Washington Carver schools in Coconut Grove and later served as Executive Director of the Metro Dade Community Relations Board from 1968 to 1983. Mr. Simms developed the Miami Inner-City Minority Experience (MICME) for the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1970s and led efforts to create and implement the Inner City Marine Project - now known as Mast Academy. With his wife Aubrey Watkins Simms, he was a founding member of the Church of the Open Door in Liberty City and is the father if the first black woman to serve as judge in Florida, Leah Simms. Mr. Simms is Emeritus Member of the University of Miami, Board of Trustees.
African American generals
African American judges - Florida
African American leadership
Generals - United States
James, Daniel, 1920-1978
Judges - Selection and appointment - United States
Metropolitan Dade County (Fla.). Community Relations Board
Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
Tuskegee University. General Chappie James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education
Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Use Restrictions: Bob Simms Collection Finding Aid © 2009 University of Miami. Requests to reproduce or publish materials from this collection should be directed to email@example.com.
Acquisition Method: Gift of Robert H. Simms, 2007.
Related Materials: Bob Simms : An Activist's Life and Legacy (online exhibit) For more information please see http://scholar.library.miami.edu/bobsimms/index.html.
Preferred Citation: Bob Simms Collection, Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida
Other Note: The attached container list is specific to "Series 9: Negatives." It is an inventory of the negative file for BobSimms' photographic collection and features people, organizations, activities and events from Coconut Grove, South Miami and Richmond Heights from 1953 to 1964.
Container List (PDF): http://proust.library.miami.edu/findingaids/legacy/asm0650Series9CL.pdf
The Simms Family moved to Miami during the fall of 1953 when Bob Simms (b. 1927) accepted the position of chair of the physical education department at George Washinton Carver, Jr. and Sr. High School. It ws during this time that he began to take pictures of various school events, organizations and individuals to serve as a visual documentation of a segregated school.
He later served as the Executive Director of the Dade County Community Relations Bard, an organization created to mediate ethnic conflicts.
Aubrey Watkins Simms (1924-2006) worked as the assistant to two University of Miami presidents, Henry King Stanford and Edward T. Toote II. She was very active in various community organizations and served on the board of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
Mr. and Mrs. Simms' son David Michael Simms (b. 1954) is a radiologist and classical bassist. He played in the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Berkshire Symphony while attending Williams College. Their daughter Leah A. Simms (b. 1949) became the first black woman to serve as judge in the history of Florida. She was appointed by Governor Bob Graham in 1981 and elected to the post in 1982.