Homebase for Louisiana city’s civil rights activity honored
BOGALUSA, La. (AP) — The home that served as the base of operations for the Bogalusa Civil Rights Movement is now recognized with a marker along the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail.
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism on Thursday dedicated the seventh marker on the trail at the Robert “Bob” Hicks House in Bogalusa.
“We are proud to tell the extraordinary story of Robert ‘Bob’ Hicks and the importance of his house,” Nungesser said. “It’s a privilege to honor Mr. Hicks, his family and all those from Bogalusa who strived to make rights real in Louisiana.”
The house was a regular meeting place for the officers of the Bogalusa Civic and Voters League and the local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, Nungesser’s office said in a news release.
“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 news release said.
Hicks founded the Deacons of Defense and Justice chapter in Bogalusa and later served as president of the BCVL. Hicks joined with civil rights activists A.Z. Young and Gayle Jenkins to help lead the Bogalusa-to Baton Rouge March in 1967. The march grew from 25 to 600 people over the course of its 105-mile (170-kilometer) journey and required protection from National Guardsmen and police. Last August, a similar marker was installed at A.Z. Young Park in Baton Rouge honoring those who participated in that march.
Hicks’ house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.
The markers are placed in cities and towns across the state to depict the state’s role in shaping the country during the 1950s and 60s, including one at Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans and Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum in Pineville.