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Meet Traci Sims

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

Traci is the youngest child of Dorothy and Elbert Sims. She has the auspicious honor of being the only child in her family to be born in Hunter Hills. She was born in 1960 at McLendon Hospital on Sharon/Burbank. . . one of the few hospitals serving African Americans at the time.

Sims descendants at Christmas 2021, Traci is sitting front and center

Prior to moving to Hunter Hills, Dorothy and Elbert were living in University Homes in Fair Street bottom in the early 1950’s with their four children: Larry, Phyllis, Kenny and Eric (Ricky). The Sims’ wanted to move from the projects when they heard about a “deal on a house.” The house was a brick ranch house with a basement built in 1953 on Burbank Drive. It was owned by a man named Yank. Unfortunately, Yank was about to lose his home so instead, he sold it to Dorothy and Elbert in 1955. After selling his home to the Sims’, Yank had nowhere to go so Dorothy and Elbert allowed Yank to stay with them until he found a place. Dorothy and Elbert, who were married for 68 years, made the little ranch house on Burbank their home for the remainder of their lives. . . and what a home it was.

Dorothy and Elbert

Traci has many fond memories of growing up in the home on Burbank. “All five of us kids, plus anyone else, grew up in a 3 bedroom/1-bathroom house harmoniously.” There was also a strong sense of community and neighbors looking out for one another.

“Our home was the go to place on Burbank. My parents were always welcoming. Our backyard was where all the neighborhood kids came to play basketball, because we had the (basketball) hoop. My sister, Phyllis, and the neighborhood girls always met at our house to play Rummy Royal. The boys would all go to a big field on Simpson (Joseph E. Boone Blvd) to play baseball and football. That big field is now home to City of Refuge."

Some special memories from Traci’s childhood in Hunter Hills are

  1. Going to Hunter Street (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) to watch the parades.

  2. Christmas on Burbank- All the neighbors on Burbank had matching reindeer in their front yards with spotlights shining on the reindeer.

  3. Walking with dignitaries and stars, including Sidney Poitier and Sammy Davis Jr., down Hunter Street during Dr. King’s funeral procession.

Growing up with a strong sense of community had a deep impact on Traci. She has continued her family’s legacy by being a champion for her neighborhood. One of her contributions to the community was successfully petitioning the city for speed bumps on Burbank. As Community Engagement Ambassador with City of Refuge, Traci continues to look out for what is in the best interests of the Hunter Hills community. And that little ranch house on Burbank is now Traci’s home. . . and what a home it is.

In closing, when asked what advice she would give to the next generation of Historic Hunter Hills residents, Traci replied:

“Our community was a true village when I was growing up. To continue that connectivity, be a good neighbor. Respect where you live. Respect your neighbor and look out for each other. Keep your property up and clean.”

Dorothy and Elbert Sims at their 60th wedding anniversary in 2004

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