Hicks, Louise Day (1923—)

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Hicks, Louise Day (1923—)

American politician and U.S. Representative from Massachusetts (January 3, 1971–January 3, 1973). Born Anna Louise Day on October 16, 1923, in Boston, Massachusetts; graduated from Wheelock Teacher's College, 1938; Boston University School of Education, B.S., 1955; graduated from Boston University School of Law, 1958.

Although Louise Day Hicks served a term in the U.S. House of Representatives, the notoriety of her political career resulted more from her involvement in local Boston politics during the turbulent years of the civil-rights movement. Hicks was born on October 16, 1923, and grew up in Boston's political milieu as the daughter of a Democratic district court judge. She initially pursued a career as a teacher but switched to the study of law in the mid-1950s. A graduate of Boston University School of Law, Hicks was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1959 and formed a partnership with her brother. In 1960, she became counsel for Boston Juvenile Court.

Hicks' first elected office was to the Boston school committee in 1961, where she served most of her two-year term with little controversy. She garnered national attention in 1963, however, when, in opposition to the NAACP and others who hoped to achieve racial integration in the schools, she became a staunch adversary of integration by busing and the leading supporter of "neighborhood schools." Hicks, who had many supporters, won reelection with nearly three-quarters of the vote in 1963. In 1965, as chair of the school committee, Hicks held fast to her position on busing even when faced with a Massachusetts law that deprived local jurisdictions of state funds if they did not implement desegregation plans. A third election to the school committee in 1965 launched her campaign as a mayoral candidate in 1967. Running under the slogan, "You know where I stand," she lost to Kevin White. Undaunted, Hicks continued her political pursuits in 1969 with her election to the Boston City Council.

In 1970, Hicks was elected to fill the seat vacated by John McCormack in the U.S. House of Representatives. Taking her place in the 92nd Congress, she was assigned to the Committee on Education and Labor. As part of this committee, she proposed a system of tax credits for parents of children in private schools and sought a federal ban on busing to achieve desegregation of public schools. Hicks also sat on the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and called for the withdrawal of American troops from Southeast Asia. Although a Democrat, she supported President Richard Nixon on a majority of House votes. While still in the House, Hicks entered the Boston mayoral race for a second time, again losing to incumbent Kevin White. In 1972, after her district had been redrawn, she lost her bid for a second term in the House. Hicks then returned to private law practice and in 1973 again won election to the Boston City Council. She is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of Women lawyers.


Office of the Historian. Women in Congress, 1917–1990. Commission on the Bicentenary of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1991.

Judith C. Reveal , freelance writer, Greensboro, Maryland