The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 42,556 black Americans with Hicks as their last name. That represented 27% of the total of 158,320 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Hicks.
We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.
After The Civil War
The 1870 census was the first survey after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1850 and 1860, only free African Americans were recorded in the census. The many enslaved were omitted.
From 1870 onward, all black Americans were included.
4,543 people named Hicks were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 557 as mixed.
There was a total of 23,271 people with the name.
Hicks In The 1900 And 1940 Census
The mixed category was dropped from the census in 1900, so we just need to look at the black numbers this time.
The 1900 census recorded 10,408 people with the last name Hicks as black within a total of 43,230 that year.
By the way, the mixed category returned in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. It was dropped again in 1930, but replaced with extra categories for colored and non-white in a way that seems confusing now.
This changed again in 1940 and we can simply focus on one black category.
The 1940 census recorded 16,180 people named Hicks as black within a total of 78,744.
Historic Black Figures With The Hicks Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Hicks as their last name.
- Born: 1873
- From: Dublin County, North Carolina
The Elaine Massacre of 1919 was a deadly racial conflict in Elaine, Arkansas. Sparked by tensions between white landowners and black sharecroppers seeking fair wages, the eventual violence resulted in the deaths of over one hundred African Americans and five white people.
Ed Hicks and his brother farmed 70 acres in Arkansas. They were leaders in the local farmers union. Both brothers were amongst the twelve men wrongfully convicted for murder and given the death penalty.
The NAACP sent one of their New York leaders, Walter White, to investigate. The noted black journalist, Ida B. Wells, also traveled to investigate.
The NAACP lawyers took the defense to the United States Supreme Court in 1923. The court ruled that white mob violence had influenced the trial and conviction of the men. Ed Hicks was released in 1925.
- Born: 1929
- From: Pachuta, Mississippi
- Died: 2010
Robert (Bob) Hicks was one of the founders of the Bogalusa chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. Hicks and others formed the group the day after the assassination of Malcom X.
The aim was to protect activists from the KKK and other vigilantes. The group organized a boycott of white-owned businesses in Bogalusa.
They also marched for ten days from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge to protest for civil rights. Hicks also took part in a series of legal actions to fight segregation and discrimination.
Hicks In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of for family history research. Here are examples of the Hicks surname from three different military services:
- Buffalo soldiers
- Black civil war sailors
- Tuskegee airmen
Five regiments for black soldiers were formed during the Civil War. They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
Their records are part of the national archive of military monthly returns. The information includes the year and place of birth, where they enlisted, their occupation, and their height.
One of the earliest military entries for Hicks was in March 1867. Stephen Hicks was a Private in the Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in March 1867 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
One of the later entries was in August 1914. Howard F Hicks was a Sergeant in the Ninth Cavalry.
If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.
You have to create an account on either website, but you do not need to pay for the Buffalo Soldiers archive.
Black Civil War Sailors
The National Parks Service has a free archive of African American sailors during the Civil War.
The information includes their age, height, rank, occupation, and where and when they enlisted. It also includes every ship that they served on.
You can search the database on the National Parks website.
One of the earliest entries for Hicks was for Samuel Hicks from Brooklyn, New York. He enlisted in June 4 1861 at New York when he was aged 22.
The record shows that Samuel was assigned on April 1 1864 to the ship Colorado.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Mariner/Waiter/Cook. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at New York in June 28 1864. Charles was aged 30 and was from Washington, District of Columbia.
He was assigned to the ship Lenapee on March 31 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Mariner. His naval rank was Seaman.
A seaman in the Navy is a sailor who is not an officer.
The Tuskegee Airmen were military personnel who served at the Tuskegee Army Airfield or related programs.
Nearly one thousand black pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute. They flew single-engine fighter planes or twin-engine bombers. 352 fought in combat.
Arthur Hicks graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in May 1945. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Arthur was from Dayton, Ohio.
Frederick Hicks came from San Francisco, California. He graduated in February 1944 as a bomber pilot.
You can find a full list of graduate pilots in our list of Tuskegee Airmen.