OUR VIEW: Project could help continued healing from past

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Robert “Bob” Hicks is one of Bogalusa’s most honored heroes, a man of honor who was a beacon of light in one of this country’s most lurid hours.

So it’s only fitting that the foundation named in his honor is participating in a venture creating an historical drama from those dark days. The series, titled “The Roads We Traveled,” will feature current and former residents of the region recalling the chaotic years during the Civil Rights Movement.

Filming, which is already under way, will be in Washington Parish with Bogalusa playing a leading role, which is only natural since the city was once considered the axis of the movement.

According to organizers, the series will not be a quixotic presentation of what were difficult days. Rather presenters will tap into their memories to recall unpleasant and painful stories of when equality was only a dream worthy of toiling in harm’s way as a down payment.

Barbara Hicks-Collins, executive director of the Hicks Foundation and Robert Hicks’ daughter, said for some the series has been “inspirational and healing.” For Hicks-Collins, the project hits close to home, as she was a witness to some of the most significant events in the movement, including the founding of the Deacons of Defense in the family home when the patriarchal Hicks believed the lives of the ones he loved most were threatened.

Bogalusa was obviously not the sole hot spot in the Civil Rights Movement but nonetheless garnered much of the attention of the national media. A series such as the one being sponsored by the Hicks Foundation appears to be the ideal vehicle for hopefully what will be one final look back at those days of unrest to provide healing.

Most importantly, the series may be the balm for those who still nurse the open wounds of racism.

Bogalusa has come a long way since those dark days but one last look back, as told by the witnesses and victims who unknowingly and perhaps unwillingly became history’s foot soldiers, can be cathartic for a region that has made tremendous strides in wiping away the stains of the past.