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Simmons Remembered as a Principled Advocate

James Wright | 1/9/2013, 1:11 p.m.

Simmons also had a passion for national politics outside of D.C. voting rights. She was a founding member in 1984 of the organization now known as the National Congress of Black Women. The organization was established after former presidential candidate and Vice President Walter Mondale failed to consider a black female as his vice presidential running mate.

E. Faye Williams, president of the organization, described Simmons as "honest and assertive" even though some of her ideas didn't meet the approval of its members.

"She was right there with us when we got started," said Williams who lives in Southwest. "Barbara spoke her mind and was honest and assertive. She truly cared about the causes she espoused and did not worry about the consequences."

Simmons was a graduate of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., and taught in the Montgomery County, Md. and District of Columbia school systems. A native of Battle Creek, Mich., Simmons also served as president of the District's chapter of the American Lung Association.

A mother of two sons and the wife of the late Samuel Simmons, Barbara Simmons was known as one who fought the good fight.

"She was a giant in the city and she will be missed," Lee said.