This collection chronicles the life of Grace E. Simons almost as much as it does the Committee which she established--at least the last twenty years of her life. Without Simons' vision and foresight, Elysian Park might look very different today--much less "park-like."
Grace E. Simons was a journalist who worked for a French news agency in China where she met her husband, Frank Glass, who was an organizer for the Communist Party. They came to Los Angeles in 1939 where Grace worked as a reporter and editor for the California Eagle, an African-American newspaper that finally folded in the early 1960s. During an interview for the Eagle, Simons met Malcolm X who was impressed by Simons' sharp questioning of him concerning his attitude towards women's rights.
It was in the mid-1960s that Simons first became involved in protecting the historic park when the city threatened to take 63 acres for what has become the Convention Center on Figureroa Street. Seeing what had happened with Dodger Stadium, Simons and a few neighbors banded together to become the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park (CCSEP). Serving as President of the Committee for many years, Simons led the fight in a series of battles that it won against proposals for an airport, oil drilling by Occidental Petroleum, an Asian Cultural Center, a child care facility, a restaurant and parking lot on Radio Hill, and several condominium projects.
The committee experienced its share of losses, among them a move to expand the Los Angeles Police Academy.
In 1979 the Sol Feinstone Environmental Award was conferred upon Simons--one of only five persons to receive the award nationally.
Grace Simons passed away in 1985 at Barlow Hospital, right next to Elysian Park. Her husband, Frank Glass, passed away in 1987. A memorial sculpture to Simons and Glass designed by ceramicist and sculptor Peter Shire was dedicated in 1994 and is located at Angel's Point in Elysian Park.