BOGALUSA, Louisiana — On Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism dedicated the seventh beacon 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 a base of operations for the Bogalusa civil rights movement. It was a regular meeting place for officers of the Civic and Electoral League of Bogalusa (BCVL) and the local chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE). The house was a safe haven for civil rights workers and served as an emergency triage post. The breakfast room became the communications center for the Bogalusa Chapter of the Deacons of Defense and Justice, an armed vigilante group that protected civil rights defenders from violence. The salon was an unofficial office for civil rights lawyers who launched 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 significance of his home. It was a regular meeting place and a safe place for civil rights activists. It’s amazing that the family has continued to live in the house with all the civil rights activity going on around them,” Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser said. “It is a privilege to honor Mr. Hicks, his family and all those in Bogalusa who have worked hard to make rights a reality in Louisiana.”
Hicks is best known for his leadership in founding the Bogalusa Chapter of Deacons for Advocacy 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 AZ Young and Gayle Jenkins to lead the march from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge, called the “105 Mile Gauntlet”. Faced with significant opposition requiring the protection of 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 AZ Young Park in Baton Rouge to honor the courage of these men and women.
These markers are placed in cities and towns across Louisiana that illustrate the significant role the state played in shaping American history during the 1950s and 1960s. The Civil Rights Trail’s life-size dynamic markers offer visitors a fascinating interactive experience that makes them feel like they are part of the civil rights journey. Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers are life-size metal figure markers cut from steel and stand over six feet tall and weigh over 200 pounds. An African-American Civil Rights grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior supports the design and construction of interpretive markers along Louisiana’s Civil Rights Trail.
In 2021, the first set of Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers were installed at Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport, Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans, and Louisiana Old State Capitol and AZ Young Park in Baton Rouge. In 2022, a second set of markers was 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 put the state of Louisiana at the center of the national civil rights movement and recounts the compelling stories and experiences of the people who dedicated themselves and their lives to making civil rights a reality. in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail informs, inspires, and invites visitors to discover and explore Louisiana’s leading role in the civil rights movement. The journey reveals inner stories and examines the era of civil rights, culture and commerce to desegregation, 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 each region of the state, and academic researchers and subject matter experts reviewed all submissions. Like the civil rights struggle, the work of the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail is ongoing. To learn more about the movement’s unique and important history in the state of Louisiana, or to nominate a site, person, or activity for inclusion, visit LouisianaCivilRightsTrail.com.