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Civil and women's rights pioneer Barbara Merriweather Sims dies

City of Buffalo

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says the city has lost a true pioneer. The Hon. Barbara Merriweather Sims has died.

Born in October 1923, Sims was the first African American woman to earn a law degree from the University at Buffalo, to serve as an Assistant Erie County District Attorney and to serve as a Buffalo City Court Judge.

She also held positions as a school teacher, a Hearing Officer with the city Parking Violations Bureau, Assistant to the President of UB and Director of UB's Office of Equal Opportunity.

In announcing her passing, Brown noted her lifelong commitment to civil rights, housing discrimination and women's rights.

Sims was also sister to the late Frank E. Merriweather Jr., who died in 1995 at age 77. He was the former publisher of The Criterion newspaper - the oldest African American weekly newspaper in Upstate New York - a founding member of the Buffalo Urban League, a former Vice President of the Buffalo NAACP and the namesake of the Merriweather Buffalo Public Library.