Bernice Sims was born in Georgiana, Alabama on December 25, 1926, and died October 23, 2014. She was the eldest of ten children. While still a very young girl, she moved to Hickory Hill in order to live with her grandparents. Her neighbor was an artist who recognized Bernice’s talent, and gave her encouragement.
Bernice loved art. She used crayons and paper to draw animals and houses. She dropped out of school in the ninth grade to marry, and moved to Brewton, Alabama, where she raised 6 children. When her oldest child was in high school, she divorced her husband. After her children were grown she went back to school and secured her GED. Later she earned an associates degree from a community college and began once again to paint.
Much of her work, executed in a bright pallet of oils or acrylics, has focused on black history and the struggle, in which she was active, for civil rights. She also depicted stories of everyday black southern life.