Some readers may remember the Primary Source library at our previous Watertown location and the dedication plaque at its entry which read “In memory of Clara Hicks.” Although the collection was moved to Regis College, the memory of Clara Hicks lives on in the dedication to her in our sourcebook series Making Freedom: African Americans in U.S. History. Today’s generation of teachers may wonder: Who was Clara Hicks?
Clara Hicks was a dedicated educator and school principal in Newton, MA. She was a mentor and friend to more than one hundred teachers around New England, and she served as the associate director of Primary Source’s African American Intellectual History project from 1997 until her untimely, sudden death in 1999. The project culminated in the Making Freedom sourcebook series. The Making Freedom Digital Curriculum project is our major new initiative based upon the sourcebooks and headed by Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai to revise, update, and digitally disseminate this urgently needed curriculum.
Clara Hicks believed passionately in inclusive and accurate education and worked throughout her life to confront tough issues, both supporting and challenging people to think in new ways in all of her endeavors. She shaped Primary Source’s African American history project, forging important professional relationships with leading scholars and organizations in African American studies in order to introduce teachers to a variety of rich scholarship and resources. Clara Hicks brought a wealth of experience, a broad perspective, and great enthusiasm to Primary Source, giving life to her beliefs and inspiring those around her with passion, wisdom, and integrity. Her memory and legacy will be remembered in the Making Freedom Digital Curriculum project.