“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” – Desmond Tutu
February marks Black History Month, a tribute to African American men and women who have made significant contributions to America and the rest of the world in the fields of science, politics, law, sports, the arts, entertainment, and many other fields.
While Black History Month is synonymous with prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, George Washington Carver and Barack Obama, there are countless other African Americans who’ve made a profound impact in history: self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker, astronaut Mae C. Jemison, open-heart surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, inventor Garret Morgan, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and “Father of Black History” Carter G. Woodson, who lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide celebration, among many others.
At Wickshire Senior Living, we join the nation in celebrating African American men and women everywhere and look inward at our many residents and staff who have made a significant impact during the course of their life.
This year, we want to celebrate Wickshire resident, Annie Hicks. Annie Hicks made history as the first black teacher in her Indiana hometown. She won a court battle to become Hammond’s first black teacher in the fall of 1960 at Maywood Elementary School and currently lives at Wickshire Fort Harrison.
Sharing her 83 years of wisdom, Annie, who is the oldest of 13 siblings, relays how her father told her he brought her family up north for a better life, and the only thing he asked from them is for each of them to try and make this world a better place. “I have never forgotten that. I remember it every day. I tried to do that,” said Annie.
Annie graduated from Ball State Teachers College (now University) and wanted to come back home to teach. The superintendent of Hammond schools said no. “Because Hammond was not ready for a colored teacher,” Annie was told.
But her father’s words came back to her. Her father told her, “This wall has to come down and you must do it.”
After her win in court, Annie taught primarily first grade for over 40 years. She said she never sent any students to the office but would separate them from the rest of the class until they were ready to behave and cooperate. She produced black history teaching aids and tried to address racism with education.
We couldn’t think of a better person to honor this month. We appreciate you, Annie, all of you.
At Wickshire, we are only human together. Here’s to celebrating this month with brave heroes like Annie – together.
To read more of Annie’s story, please visit: https://www.wthr.com/article/news/local/indiana/annie-hicks-hammond-indiana-first-black-teacher/531-6c534866-e4c7-495c-996d-0ab83d1f7719
To learn more or to contact Wickshire Senior Living, please e-mail [email protected].