Roslyn Sims, 96; Youngstown labor and civil rights activist
A bit of history: January 25, 1963, letter to W.E.B. Du Bois by my late mother, Roslyn Sims, on behalf of my grandmother, Pauline Taylor. Back in the 1950s, they and my dad, Joe Sims, founded a study group on African and African-American history. Don't know if Du Bois answered. He died in August of 1963 on the eve of the march on Washington. | Joe Sims

Roslyn Sims passed away March 7, 2018, after a brief illness. She was at home surrounded by loved ones in accordance with her wishes.

Roslyn Sims, courtesy family

Sims was originally from New York City, the only child of Morris and Ann Wunthall, Jewish immigrants from Poland. “Roz” as she was known moved to Youngstown after World War II, where she became involved in the labor and civil rights movements. There she met her future husband, the late Joseph Sims, during a struggle to desegregate South Side swimming pool, led by Dorothy Boswell, Pauline Taylor and the youth wing of Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party.

Joseph and Roslyn Sims had six children, the late Dr. Carl Sims of Youngstown, Joseph Sims Jr. of New York City (Senior Editor at People’s World), Robbie Sims of Youngstown, Miriam Sims-Warren of Cleveland, Daniel Sims of Youngstown, and Frederick Douglass Sims of Youngstown. In addition, Sims leaves many loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Roslyn Sims was a graduate of Youngstown State University and worked as a librarian at Jefferson School. She was very active in working to improve the lives of Youngstowners and belonged to many organizations, among them the Youngstown Club of the Communist Party USA, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Welfare Rights Organization, and AFSCME Council 8 Retirees.

A proud trade unionist, Sims was a candidate for City Council of Youngstown and Mahoning County Commissioner.

An outpouring of memories came from neighbors, comrades and friends:

“She was warm to me and my brother when we were children, I only fully appreciated all that she did for our community as I got older. Her home was welcoming and her voice was loving. I am grateful to have known her and her family.”


She was my Neighborhood Mom. Words cannot express my feelings. I loved her so much and I honor her works in the movements.


She was a Wonderful Person! She was very instrumental in my growth at Hillman School. She took a personal interest in me and my education, helped me form my own character and become my own person. I shall never forget her; she cared for me when she didn’t have to!


I remember her as a special warm and caring person.


Everyone at Peoples World extends to you Joe the deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved mother. You are a shining example of the love and support that can exist between a son and his mother. Observing you care for her over these past years has been both a moving and inspirational experience for all of us at Peoples World.

People’s World editors, writers and production team

I first met Roz during the steel crisis of the 1970s when the mills in the Mahoning Valley were shutting down and thousands of steelworkers were losing their livelihoods. Roz, drawing on her entire life experience, threw herself into the midst of that fight to keep her community and family together. I was inspired by her strength, unwavering leadership and compassion then and in every battle since. I feel so fortunate to have known Roz and the Sims family and to have benefited from her kindness, generosity and incredibly rich life experience. Her vision of a better world lives on.

John Bachtell, national chair of the Communist Party USA.

A memorial tribute and celebration will be held March 24 at 1 p.m. at the Jerusalem Baptist Church, 2003 Wilson Ave. in Youngstown. Following the service a repast will be served at AFSCME Council 8 at 150 S. Four Mile Run Road in Youngstown.


Barbara Russum
Barbara Russum

Barbara Russum is a longtime reader and supporter of People's World who worked in production and program support from 2003 to 2021. She is particularly impressed by the new, young writers who submit stories from their union organizing, campus work, and neighborhood actions. "I encourage everyone to read People's World, share articles on social media, and donate to support the work."