Office of Oral History

Bob Olson
Vernese Sims, April 2012

Vernese Sims Oral History Interview

Vernese Sims was born April 16, 1945, the oldest of ten children, at Waverly Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, a hospital in the African-American community.  Her father, James S. Miller (also interviewed) served in WWII, worked as a cook, and sold peanuts in and around Columbia for about 20 years.  Her mother, besides being a homemaker, worked outside the home picking cotton and housekeeping and attended Allen University for one year.  She loved to draw, a trait she passed down to her daughter.  Vernese attended C. A. Johnson High School, was an Art major at Columbia College, and is a lifelong reader.

In the interview she describes childhood memories, Drew Park, going to church, family and community descriptions and stories, train story, snake story, siblings stories, midwife stories, descriptions of segregation practices, civil rights movement and her involvement, family history and slavery, how lack of compulsory education affected her, feelings about Strom Thurmond, brother’s  application to the Citadel, Charles and Ethel Bolden, boycotting buses and clothing stores, protests and integrating a movie house and memories of the mill areas in Greenville, SC.

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