Sunday, April 5, 2015

Historic Civil Rights Works of Robert "Bob" Hicks of Washington Parish

Mr. Robert " Bob" Hicks is considered a " Lion in the Louisiana Civil Rights Movement whose legal victories helped fight against segregation in Bogalusa, La, and changed discriminatory employment practices throughout the south." Mr. Hicks began his civil rights work as member of the local NAACP, the Bogalusa Voter and Civic League and was also the founder of the Bogalusa Chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. Mr. Hicks conducted daily marches to protest racial discrimination by merchants and local government. Among his many accomplishments in fighting for civil rights. Mr. Hicks filed several landmark lawsuit, on lawsuit obtained a federal court order requiring the police to protect protest marches. 

Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.

Another suit filed was against the US Department of Housing where prohibition of the construction of public housing in segregated neighborhoods in Bogalusa. During this time Mr. Hicks worked at Crown Zellerbach and was one of the few African American men employed there. After going to court for many years with Crown Zellarbach, he became the company's first African American supervisor. He also served as the president of the Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers. He was a true hero, a kind of grave man. His dedication to justice had an impact on not only Bogalusa and Washington Parish.

On February 1, 1965,  Mr. Hicks learned that the Ku Klux Klan plan to bomb his home, he and his family were told by police that they could not protect the. The Klan was furious that Hicks was housing two white civil rights workers and demanded they leave that night. Aware of the danger, Hicks, said " no" to the demand. Hicks and wife called friends to take their five children to a safe place and asked for protection. Armed black men stood guard during the night. On February 21, the Jonesboro Deacons of Defense and Justice visited Bogalusa to start a chapter citing the second Amendment and carrying funds with the mission of protection against white aggression. Mr. Hicks took the lead starting a Bogalusa chapter. Deacons confrontation with the Klan created history, started a Civil Rights Movement, empowering a people and propelled the U.S. Government to enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act to neutralize the Klan. The Hick's home was the birth and meeting places for Deacons, foot soldiers, lawyers, civil and human rights advocates and a safe haven for all. Decisions made in this home significantly impacted the future of the community. Louisiana and the nation. Hicks showed courage in defense of justice and equality.

Over the years, the Hicks family opened their home to numerous national renowned individuals, such as entertainer Dick Gregory, and James Farmer, the head of Congress of Racial Equality. The Hicks home was placed on the National Register Listing of Historic Places. 

Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.
Barbara Hick Collins, Executive Director of the Hicks Foundation. The Foundations sole intention is to preserve the history of the people of the Bogalusa, LA., The Foundation continues to make great strides in their mission to inform, educate, inspire and motivate people for Bogalusa and Washington Parish.