Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism unveiled the newest historical marker on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail at the former Bogalusa home of Robert “Bob” Hicks today (Aug. 11).
The house, located at 924 Robert “Bob” Hicks Street, was the base of operations for the Bogalusa Civil Rights Movement. It was a regular meeting place for 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.
This will be the seventh unveiling so far of markers that highlight landmarks that played critical roles in the Civil Rights movement across Louisiana.
Other markers include two in New Orleans. One honors McDonogh 19 School, the elementary school that Leona Tate, Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost integrated as six-year-old girls in November of 1960. Another pays homage to Dooky Chase Restaurant, whose owners Edgar “Dooky” and Leah Chase made the New Orleans eatery a safe haven for local, state and national Civil Rights leaders to gather, eat and strategize.
A marker at the Old State Capitol commemorates the 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott as many of the boycotters gathered at the site to find free transportation while avoiding the segregated bus service. Another marker sits at 800 Third Street in Baton Rouge next to A.Z. Young Park to commemorate the 1967 Bogalusa to Baton Rouge March led by Civil Rights activists A.Z. Young along with Hicks and Gayle Jenkins. A marker in Shreveport highlights the role that Little Union Baptist Church played there. Little Union Baptist Church was a leading church in the civil rights struggle. The church was also the where policemen attacked worshippers holding a memorial service for the young victims of the Birmingham church bombing in 1963.
Another marker in Pineville honors Camp Beauregard and the 761st Tank Battalion–the all-Black tanker battalion that trained in central Louisiana before seeing combat in WWII. The battalion received a Presidential Unit Citation and numerous awards for its actions, including one Medal of Honor, 11 Silver Stars and about 300 Purple Hearts.