National Parks Services visits Hicks house

Published 3:31 am Saturday, September 14, 2019

On Friday, Sept. 6, one of National Park Services’ (NPS) top level teams made a site visit to the Hicks Historic Houses to view the preservation grant project that the National Park Service awarded to the Hicks Foundation last year with an African America Civil Rights Grant (AACR).

The NPS team was led by Megan J. Brown, who is NPS Chief of State, Tribal, Local Plans & Grants and Certified Local Government National Program Coordinator of State, Tribal, Local Plans and Grants Division, National Park Service. The two members of the NPS team who accompanied her were Jennifer A. Wellock, Technical Reviewer and Historian of State, Tribal, Local, Plans & Grants Division; and Jessie Kelly, Grant Management Specialist of State, Tribal, Local, Plans and Grants Division.

Individuals who welcomed the NPS team to Bogalusa and the Hicks Historic site were Barbara Hicks Collins, Project Director of the AACR Grant; Mrs. Robert Hicks, CEO of The Robert “Bob” Hicks Foundation; and Tamika Livingston, AACR Grant Attorney as well as a supporter of the grant and of the Hicks Foundation. Hicks Collins guided the tour of the sites, which combined an overview of the grant’s scope of services with a discussion of historic events occurring in and around the Hicks Historic Sites.

Hicks Collins indicated that she felt the site visit was productive and that she welcomed the input and suggestions from Brown and her team regarding future possibilities for the site.

The team’s interest in Bogalusa civil rights history was apparent when Mrs. Valeira Hicks, the Foundation president, provided them with her first-person testimony regarding the history of the 1906 Mill House and how African-Americans lived before, during and after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Because the history of African-American lives prior to and during the civil rights era were so clearly represented in the grant location, Hicks Collins said the conversation with the team and the Foundation president not only energized and inspired her, but it helped to remind her of the enormous potential to preserve this history and the need to work harder on the dream of making the District 1 area into a historic civil rights district. The goal is making our city a “Better Bogalusa” and Washington Parish a “Proud People Parish.”