Musician, Church Leader, & Memory-Keeper
Mother Georgia Mae Sims is a cornerstone of Black spiritual & cultural life in Marion County, and is the oldest living memory-keeper in Marion City’s Black community. Mother Sims emigrated to Marion County by train with her family from rural Georgia in the 1950s — the height of Jim Crow-era segregation and racially-motivated anti-Black violence in the U.S. South. They arrived in a Marion County where racism very much still existed — it just presented itself in less obvious ways. The Sims family helped established Marion City’s “Shantytown” — a beloved Westside neighborhood that provided housing, gardens, and some of the comforts of home for Marion’s rapid influx of interconnected Black families from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and other points south, who were all fleeing the violences, lynchings, and uncertainties of life in the U.S. South at the time. The Sims family went on to help join Marion City’s Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church: one of the longest-lasting historically Black churches in the county (founded in 1921!). Mother Sims was instrumental in the programming of music, foodways, and theatrical performances & presentations at the thriving church; and was involved in formal & informal Black cultural & community organizing throughout her life in Marion County.
Mother Sims celebrated her 101th birthday this spring. Happy Birthday to you, Mother Sims; and thank you for your beautiful work helping build Black community, livelihoods, spirituality, & futures in Marion County throughout your illlustrious life in our county.
SHOP // ADDRESS:
Visit Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church at 475 E. Fairground Street || Marion, Ohio || 43302 — Please contact the church prior to visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic, in case special hours/operations/procedures apply.
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church: tel. 740.387.6970
Local History & Memory; Church History
Memory-Keeping; Spirituality in Marion County