March hopes to capture the spirit of the 1960s

Published 11:22 am Friday, November 7, 2014

The Robert “Bob” Hicks Foundation wants to bring back the best of the 1960s when peaceful protests ultimately led to progress and ushered in a new era of brotherly love.

Anybody who misses or completely missed out on those heady days of unity-in-action will soon get a chance to feel the communal spirit.

In 1963 the March on Washington attracted people from all over the country to the nation’s capital. On November 22 this year the March on Washington (Parish) will draw people to the small but historically significant city of Bogalusa in Washington Parish, Louisiana.

The March will take place in conjunction with the unveiling of the first official land marker in honor of an African American in the parish: the late local Civil Rights leader Robert “Bob” Hicks.

Foundation Executive Director Barbara Hicks-Collins said the idea of having a Bogalusa-style March on Washington with the unveiling ceremonies is to acknowledge all the local men, women and children who also contributed to the great strides for Civil Rights in the 60s. The Foundation hopes participation spurs additional positive action across the parish and fills the marchers with the realization that they can and should help make a difference in areas like education, the economy and social reform.

The March will begin at 3 p.m. at the oldest African American Baptist Church in Bogalusa, Bethlehem Baptist Church, 837 E. 7th Street. Participants will walk down Sullivan Drive, which is named for William Sullivan, a founder and the first mayor of Bogalusa. After passing the site of the original Bogalusa Civic and Voters League, which hosted meetings and rallies during the Civil Rights Era, the marchers will turn down Robert “Bob” Hicks Street and arrive at the historic Hicks home, 924 Robert “Bob” Hicks Street, for the marker unveiling.

Transportation will then be provided to take people back to the church where the ceremonies will continue with “speeches, songs and prayer for a brighter and better future for the young people and the families in our parish,” Hicks-Collins said.

Marchers are encouraged to carry signs in honor of family members, friends and other individuals who participated in the civil rights movement. That participation includes but is not limited to: testing and integrating public accommodations, picketing, attending civil rights rallies, and taking part in marches such as the night march to Franklinton or the 10-day march to Baton Rouge.

The Foundation hopes that other participants will carry signs that promote love and unity, or advocate such issues such as education reform, increased activities for children and senior citizens, healthy living and community team-building.

“We are trying to spark the spirit in the people of our community, and to change the images of yesteryears to positive images,” Hicks-Collins said.

In order to educate and to involve local youth in the project, the Foundation will have schools throughout the city and parish make signs to be carried in the March.

“If you plan to participate in the March on Washington and would like to carry a sign to represent a person or event, or to promote a positive message for the parish, call the Hicks Foundation, give the name or positive message you wish to have on your sign, pick up your sign at the Bethlehem Family Life Center before the start of the March, and march to the unveiling of the first official land marker for an African American in our parish,” Hicks-Collins said. “The rest is another chapter in our history.”

Interested schools or teachers are asked to call 985-732-7449 as soon as possible.

The unveiling ceremony is expected to draw a large crowd, including dignitaries from throughout the country. For additional information or to get involved, call Hicks-Collins at the above number.