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Artist who painted Selma stamp dies in Brewton

The Brewton resident who contributed her artwork to Selma’s historical stamp died Oct. 23. 

Buried Thursday, Civil Rights advocate Bernice Sims used her art talent to design one of 10 “To Form A More Perfect Union” commemorative postage stamps released by the United States Postal Service in August 2005.

The collection traces the history of the America’s civil rights movement through vivid illustrations of key events, people and decisions that changed the course of this nation, according to the USPS website.

The ten milestones of the Civil Rights Movement recognized within the collection include the Executive Order 9981 issued by former President Harry S. Truman, the abolishment of segregation in the U.S. armed forces, the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Little Rock Nine, the Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, the Freedom Riders, the March on Washington, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Selma March and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Sims involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s didn’t stop with the artwork for the stamps.

She coordinated activities of the NAACP in Brewton, participated in the Selma-Montgomery March and witnessed the “Bloody Sunday” events on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, according to her obituary.

She specialized in memory painting, which was inspired by scenes from her youth and experience with the civil rights struggles she participated in over the years.

In 1994, Sims was inducted into the Black History Hall of Fame in Lake Charles, La., for her contributions to black culture.

Nearly a decade later, her work was featured in an exhibition honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tenn., and can be found in galleries nationwide.