From 1804 to 1914
WM. HICKS, B. A., D. D.,
Author of "Bible Thoughts, With Questions and Answers,"
and "Things Necessary for the Preacher, Deacon
and Layman to Know."
With a Biographical Introduction by
Bishop W. B. Purvis
NATIONAL BAPTIST PUBLISHING BOARD.
R. H. BOYD D. D. SECRETARY.
It is indeed a source of pleasure to introduce the writer of this history. The highest aim of the author, who will be blessed, honored and revered more by future historians, orators and statesmen than the present, is to so portray the life history of men who have risen out of the very depths of poverty and obscurity to places of honor and trust of men of science, arts and letters that the young of all generations, climes, peoples and tongues while reading and studying shall catch inspiration that will make the great of mankind the greatest, and the lowly of mankind the better. The writer of this history was born in Shreveport, La., April 9th, 1869, of Square and Jane Hicks. When but a child he showed signs of marked intelligence. He attended the schools of his home city, and being seized by a desire for higher education he left his home and went to New Orleans, La., in 1887, where he entered Leland University. Here he distinguished himself as a hard student, and graduated from this University with high honors, graduating the first time May 9th, 1893, receiving the Normal and College Preparatory diplomas after the delivery of one oration. After finishing these two courses and studying on through the freshman to the sophomore year, he accepted a call to the Thirteenth District Academy at Shreveport. Here he wrought successfully and well seven consecutive years, when he felt so keenly his need for more thorough preparation that he returned to Leland, resumed his studies and graduated from the B. A. degree course in 1902. After pushing the work of the Shreveport school on another year, and after carrying the school from a very small enrollment to a maximum enrollment of nearly 300, and from an old one-story frame building with many leaks therein to a $3,000 two-story frame building nicely painted and reasonably well equipped, he accepted a call to the Deanship of the Theological Department of Coleman College, Gibsland, La. Here he realized his need for more Biblical knowledge, and again returned to his Alma Mater, graduating the third time. This time he won the B. D. degree. After making good here at Gibsland as a theologian and pastor of ability, he was called to Atlanta, Texas, and Junction City, Ark. Locating in Texas he pastored a two-Sunday church in each state until he was called back to his home city by the Trinity Baptist Church. When he had succeeded two years phenominally at Trinity, he was called to Meridian, Miss., by the El-Bethel Baptist Church. Finishing his well-done labors here, he moved to Uniontown, Ala., and took charge of the First Baptist Church of that place at the urgent request of the members of said church. Selma University, at Selma, Ala., recognizing the accomplished work, and the intellectual ability of Bishop Hicks, conferred upon him the D. D. degree May, 1913.
Dr. Hicks married Miss Olivia Josephine Madison, a graduate of Leland University, December 27th, 1897. Their union has been blessed with nine children and a model home. Elder Hicks is one of the most scholarly of our brethren, and is rapidly gaining renown, having been selected by the National Baptist Publishing Board to write articles for the National Baptist Sunday-School Teacher, to write monthly for the National Baptist Union-Review, and to a Bible Teachership in the National Baptist Sunday-School Congress, which represents about 14,000 Sunday-schools. Editorial Secretary W. S. Ellington, speaking of the writer of this history, says: "Rev. Wm. Hicks is a conscientious Christian gentleman in whom there is no guile. He loves his Bible and is an experienced expounder of its truths. The Sunday-School Congress is to be congratulated for obtaining the services of so competent a man."
His services have been secured by Dr. Booker T. Washington to lecture to the students of the Phelps Bible Training School at Tuskegee. Dr. Hicks was ordained at the Evergreen Baptist Church, Shreveport, April 28th, 1899, by the following brethren: Bishops I. A. Carter, J. M. Carter, L. W. Canfield, Robert Taylor, C. S. Shelton, H. R. Flynn and A. T. Sumpter. In disposition Dr. Hicks is as meek as a child. In dress he is not extravagant. His face wears the expression of thoughtfulness. His will is iron and his nerves steel, yet meek and mild in deportment. As a professor he is deep and thoughtful; as a preacher he is known. His arguments are convincing and conclusive, being a ready speaker, a clear scholar, an accurate thinker, he is always in demand. When I contemplate the life of such a man, it makes me feel that God has created no man for naught but rather that He has put into the reach of every man vast possibilities which only need be turned into right channels at the right time.
"Pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon,
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honor by the locks."
Such is the character of the writer of this history, loved and admired by all who know him.
W. B. PURVIS, Pleasant Hill, La.
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