(Senate - November 17, 2014)

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[Page S6020]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


 Mr.VITTER. Mr. President, I wish to honor the home of civil 
rights hero, the late Robert ``Bob'' Hicks in Bogalusa, LA. This month, 
the State of Louisiana is unveiling a historical land marker on the 
site where, 50 years ago, Mr. Hicks organized armed men outside his 
home to protect civil rights workers from Ku Klux Klan violence.
  Mr. Hicks, a former paper mill worker, became a key civil rights 
leader during the tumultuous 1960s and 70s in his hometown of Bogalusa, 
LA. He earned the respect of others as a courageous organizer, who not 
only stood toe-to-toe with the Ku Klux Klan, but also fought against 
the racist political power structure and the city's discriminatory 
businesses. He filed a landmark civil rights lawsuit in Federal court 
against the city requiring the police to enforce the Civil Rights Act 
of 1964 and to protect those who protested against injustice in the 
city. His lawsuits also resulted in orders to desegregate Bogalusa's 
public schools and the prohibition of new public housing in segregated 
neighborhoods in the city. His lawsuit against his employer, the Crown 
Zellerbach Corporation, resulted in the prohibition of unfair hiring 
tests and seniority systems at the city's major paper mill. Mr. Hicks 
became the first black supervisor at the paper mill, and his work 
opened doors for others, as his case became the precedent for similar 
discrimination cases throughout the region.
  On the night of February 1, 1965, Mr. Hicks received a call telling 
him the Klan was coming to bomb his home, because he was accommodating 
two white civil rights workers there. Mr. Hicks and his wife Valeria 
found neighbors willing to take in their children and they reached out 
to others for protection. Soon, a group of armed men gathered to 
protect the Hicks' home, and there was never a violent confrontation. 
Less than 3 weeks later, the leaders of a secretive, paramilitary 
organization called the Deacons for Defense and Justice visited 
Bogalusa. The organization had been formed in Jonesboro, LA, in 1964 
mainly to protect unarmed civil rights demonstrators from the Klan. 
After listening to the Deacons, Mr. Hicks took the lead in forming a 
Bogalusa chapter, recruiting many of the men who had joined him at his 
house to protect his family and guests.
  Mr. Hicks died of cancer at his home in Bogalusa on April 13, 2010, 
at the age of 81. He was one of the last surviving Deacon leaders. The 
historical land marker will be unveiled on November 22, 2014, and it 
will be the first official State marker honoring an African American in 
Washington Parish, LA.
  I am honored to join with the State of Louisiana in recognizing the 
Robert ``Bob'' Hicks House.