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Barbara Merriweather Sims

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Barbara M. Sims has enjoyed a career both as a school teacher and as an attorney. Just before attending the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Law, she passed the citywide teacher's examination with the highest score and placed first on the list of qualified applicants.

Shortly thereafter she became the first African American women to receive a law degree at UB. Upon graduating from Law school she entered into a law partnership with her husband, the late Judge William Sims, under the firm name of Sims and Sims, were she engaged in private practice for several years.

Judge Sims was recruited to join the Office of the District Attorney of Erie County, becoming the first African American women Assistant District Attorney in Erie County. While acting as an assistant district attorney, she wrote appellate briefs and argued appeals to the Appellate Courts including the Appellate Division and Court of Appeals, the highest court in the State of New York. She also submitted petitions for Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

She has been elected to every office in the Women Lawyers Association where she has served as President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. She also has served as National Vice President to the National Association of Black Women Attorneys headquartered in Washington, D.C.

After leaving the District Attorney's Office, she became a Hearing Officer in the Parking Violations Bureau of the City of Buffalo. While working in that capacity, she was recruited to teach at the University at Buffalo Law School. She also was appointed to the position of Assistant to the President of the University at Buffalo for Minority and Women's Affairs and served as Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity where it was among her responsibilities to further the advancement of women in the disciplines where they had not traditionally been accepted. She also taught courses in the undergraduate division of the University.

After she left UB, she went to work in the Law Offices of Robinson, Sims, Gibson, and Green, which was then located in the Hotel Statler Office Building. It was while in that law office, that she was recruited to run for Associate Judge of the City Court of Buffalo.

During her career, she acted as local Counsel to the NAACP where she represented clients in various civil rights lawsuits, including discrimination in housing and in employment, in addition to criminal matters. Judge Sims has been the recipient of more than fifty awards presented to her for her services to the community and as an attorney.

Currently, she is Counsel to the Buffalo Criterion weekly newspaper in which her parents, Frank and Carmelita Merriweather, operated for more than fifty years. In addition to her mother, Barbara's sister, Thyra Merriweather Charles, also is an Uncrowned Queen.