Leveraging the Past to Empower the Present
The Robert “Bob” Hicks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to preserving and furthering the legacy of the Bogalusa Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, black men,women and youth from our community rose up to fight against white supremacy, risking their lives to create a more equitable and just world for future generations. We believe that by remembering and celebrating their courage, we can empower our youth, families and citizens to recognize their own potential to continue the struggle and contribute to our city, parish, state and nation in extraordinary ways.
The Museum & Cultural Center
The museum and cultural center will be a dynamic, experiential “museum of conscience” that weaves together the story of two periods of African American life across two houses located on the same property. The Hicks House will explore the history of the Bogalusa and Washington Parish Civil Rights Movement and the Deacons for Defense and Justice. The 1906 Mill House will focus on daily African American life in early 20th century Bogalusa, and the Black community’s resilience in the face of oppression. It is a history of great range and complexity, made personal through the story of Robert Hicks and his family. We are in the process of rehabilitating both houses so that we can open the museum to the public.
It will be the first museum of African American history in Bogalusa. We believe it is vital to preserve this history so that Bogalusa’s youth and future generations can be empowered by the courage of their forefathers who rose up to fight for equality. By working closely with our community, the museum will become a rallying point, prompting citizens to draw strength from the past in order to confront the social and economic justice issues we face today. These modest family homes served as a community gathering place once before and they will live to fulfill that role again.
The Robert “Bob” Hicks Foundation was created in 2013 by Barbara Hicks Collins, daughter of Bogalusa civil rights leaders Robert and Valeira Hicks. The goal was to open a museum and cultural center in two historic houses that served as both loving family homes and bases of operation for the Bogalusa civil rights movement and the Bogalusa chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice in the 1960s.
In 2014, a Louisiana State land marker was placed in front of the Hicks House. In 2015, both houses were listed for significance on the National Register of Historic Places, becoming the first site of African American history in Washington Parish recognized by the National Park Service. The Foundation successfully completed a 2015 Louisiana Historic Preservation grant to begin the rehabilitation of the Hicks House and is currently working on a National Park Service grant to complete the rehabilitation of the houses to historic preservation standards. In 2021, the Hicks House was included on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail.
Thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and in partnership with the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum, we have developed a digital archive of materials related to the Bogalusa Civil Rights Movement and early Bogalusa African American history, accessible on the Louisiana Digital Library and on this website.
We are deeply grateful to the National Park Service, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation and especially to members of our community who have made donations and volunteered their time to make the museum a reality.
For much of his life, Robert “Bob” Hicks fought segregation and discriminatory practices in education, housing, employment, public accommodations and healthcare. He was, founder of the Bogalusa chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice and, during the days of Jim Crow, he led daily protests on the streets of Bogalusa.
Along with serving as Vice President of the Bogalusa Civic and Voters League, Hicks was a plaintiff in a series of groundbreaking civil rights lawsuits. His family home, the Hicks House, was headquarters for the Deacons for Defense and Justice, a meeting place for several other civil rights organizations, a safe haven for members of the movement, and so much more.
Our Board of Directors
Meet the people who oversee the foundation’s work.