The Louisiana Office of Tourism has dedicated the seventh marker along the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail. This marker recognizes the Robert “Bob” Hicks House, located at 924 Robert “Bob” Hicks Street in Bogalusa.
The Robert “Bob” Hicks House served as the base of operations for the Bogalusa Civil Rights Movement. It was a regular meeting place for the officers of the Bogalusa Civic and Voters League (BCVL) and the local Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The house was a safe place for civil rights workers and served as an emergency triage station. The breakfast room became the communications center for the Bogalusa Chapter of the Deacons of Defense and Justice, an armed self-defense group who protected civil rights workers from violence. The living room was an unofficial office for the civil rights attorneys who pioneered groundbreaking lawsuits in education, housing, and employment. In 2015, the Robert “Bob” Hicks House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We are proud to tell the extraordinary story of Robert ‘Bob’ Hicks and the importance of his house. It was a regular meeting place and safe place for civil rights workers. It’s amazing that the family continued to live in the house with all of the civil rights activities going on around them,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “It’s a privilege to honor Mr. Hicks, his family, and all those from Bogalusa who strived to make rights real in Louisiana.”
Hicks is best known for his leadership in founding the Bogalusa Chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. He later served as president and vice president of the Bogalusa Civic and Voters League. In August 1967, Hicks joined civil rights activists A.Z. Young and Gayle Jenkins to lead the Bogalusa to Baton Rouge March, referred to as the “105-mile gauntlet.” While facing substantial opposition requiring protection from National Guardsmen and police, the march grew from 25 to 600 people during the journey. In August 2021, a Louisiana Civil Rights Trail marker was installed at A.Z. Young Park in Baton Rouge honoring the courage of those men and women.
These markers are placed in cities and towns across Louisiana that depict the significant role the state played in shaping American history during the 1950s and 60s. The dynamic life-sized Civil Rights Trail markers provide a compelling interactive experience for visitors that makes them feel a part of the civil rights journey. The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers are striking life-sized metal figure markers cut from steel and stand over six feet tall and weigh over 200 lbs. An African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered through the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, supports the design and fabrication of the interpretive markers along the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail.
In 2021, the first series of Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers were installed at Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans, and the Louisiana Old State Capitol and A.Z. Young Park in Baton Rouge. In 2022, a second series of marker have been installed at McDonogh 19 Elementary School in New Orleans and the Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum in Pineville.
The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail brings together the events of the 1950s and 1960s that placed the state of Louisiana at the center of the national Civil Rights Movement and narrates the compelling stories and experiences of the people who dedicated themselves and their lives to making civil rights real in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail informs, inspires, and invites visitors to experience and explore Louisiana’s prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement. The trail reveals inside stories and examines the civil rights era from culture and commerce to desegregation and protests and confrontations. Two years in the making, the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail was developed with community vision and public submissions from across the state. Twenty-two meetings were held in every region of the state and university scholars and subject matter experts reviewed all submissions. Like the fight for Civil Rights, the work of the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail is ongoing. To learn more about the unique and important history of the movement in the State of Louisiana or to nominate a site, a person or an activity for inclusion, visit LouisianaCivilRightsTrail.com.