October 8, 1963, San Francisco, California.  Tracy Simms picketi

Photo of the Day: Civil Rights Leader Tracy Sims

Civil Rights Leader, She Inspired Us All

October 8, 1963, San Francisco, California.  Civil Rights Leader Tracy Sims picketing. Photo by Harvey Richards
October 8, 1963, San Francisco, California. Civil Rights Leader Tracy Sims picketing.  Photo by Harvey Richards

I knew Tracy Sims only briefly during the early 1960’s while I was an activist student at the University of California.  I walked on many picket lines with her.  She inspired everyone with her energy, her fierce determination and her smile. Bay Area civil rights activists got fired up over helping support the civil rights movement in the south to end racial segregation. The photo at the left was one such demonstration in San Francisco in support of voter registration in the south.  But what also motivated many of us, including Tracy Sims, was the fight for the rights of African Americans right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tracy led demonstrations against police brutality in San Francisco.  She was instrumental in a series of demonstrations against discrimination in hiring, perhaps the greatest obstacle to racial equality at that time.  She was a leader of the Ad Hoc Committee to End Discrimination which forged an agreement with all the big hotels to end racial discrimination in hiring which had kept African Americans in the kitchens and basements.  She helped get jobs for African Americans in the automobile agencies along Van Ness Avenue where job bias was the rule. Everyone who participated in those events and who benefited from pushing back that kind of silent, hateful discrimination that permeated (and still does) our society, we all owe a debt of gratitude to this wonderful woman.  Thank you, Tracy!

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