Dr. Fannie Frazier Hicklin still Active
after all those Years
100 Years Resilient
and so nice. There was one man who came whom I had taught in high school. He’s a very good musician. He was then. Finally he was at various universities. And
his last job was as a president at a college in Maryland. He had come from Detroit. He drove here. Someone had notified him. There was one local person who called
everyone he could thing of who knew me.”
In her 100 years on this earth, Hicklin has touched a lot of lives and for about two months, people touched her life right back. Hicklin had a birthday party in Macon,
Georgia. Her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, gave her a party at Bonefish Grill. The Village of Shorewood Hills proclaimed July 21, 2018 as Dr. Fannie Ella Frazier
Hicklin Day. The Wisconsin Historical Society held a reception in her honor. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority honored her at its national convention in Houston with
1,000 delegates singing Happy Birthday to her. And then there was the birthday party at the Radisson Inn that attracted a standing-room only crowd.
“We aren’t sure how many people came to our party,” Kicklin said. “It was interesting to see this many people and such a variety of people. People came from out-of-
state. It was a marvelous group and they had such nice smiles. I was just glad to have them. From out-of-town, we had two from Michigan. We had one from Georgia.
There were several from out-of-town. And then there was Stuart Brooks, a Madisonian who had gone to Whitewater and is a very good actor. We hadn’t been in close
contact. But he got very active and started a $10,000 fund. He called a number of his classmates. That’s how they knew about this and they came. There is another
fund established at Whitewater that was established it several years ago. The chancellor and his wife, shortly after I retired, started this scholarship fund with $1,000.
Since that time, they have given regularly. And many of my friends have known about it. So they give at Christmas time and at birthdays. I have been very pleased
with the people they have selected for scholarships. On recipient has had it for three years and he was there at the party all dressed up in his dark suit.”
Hicklin was born in 1918 at the end of World War I in Talladega, Alabama. Her father, one of the few African American men with an advanced degree, taught at
Talladega College, an integrated school in a sea of segregation. Lynchings were prominent at the time and the Great Depression would not set in until Hicklin was a
Hicklin was raised to be classy, not conceited. She has that old Southern charm and a sense of dignity that would be unfazed by anything that she confronted.
Her mother gave her that charm and an instinct on how to minimize segregation. They steered away from things like segregated bathrooms and the like that got
people into trouble or were meant to create a sense of inferiority. And he learned to stand up for herself in a very dignified manner.
“They could speak out,” Hicklin said about her parents. “When we were little, we went downtown with mother. We were at A&B. They had a custom down there where
they didn’t use Mrs. or Miss. If they knew your first name, they called you by your first name. If they were going to use anything at all, they would say ‘Uncle’ or
‘Auntie.’ This clerk said that and so mother said to him, ‘I don’t think I’m your mother’s sister.’ He said, ‘What can I call you?’ Mother said, ‘Customer is fine.’ They
could come back with things, but nothing violent. But at least she let it be known.”
Hicklin grew up in a healthy environment where all their food was made from scratch.
“We were a very healthy family,” Hicklin said. “My brother and I didn’t have childhood diseases. My mother didn’t make a big to do about it. We had good food. We
often had guests. She believed that you should always cook enough because you never knew who was going to come to your house. She was a good cook and didn’t
use any recipes. I said, ‘Mother, I would like to learn how to cook.’ She said, ‘Oh you just throw some things together.’ Somehow it would work. One day, I was at
home before going to my college classes. I was in my room studying and preparing to go to
class. Mother was laughing in the back. I went back there and she had forgotten to put sugar
in the cookies. She wasn’t complaining. She was laughing. If it had been me, I would have
dumped it out. She didn’t dump it out. For dinner that night, we had cookies with sauce over
them. I felt like my parents were always resolving problems without complaining, he in his
work and she as far as home was concerned.”
And most importantly, her teachers, white and Black believed in her potential.
“I’ve always been taught in an elementary school, high school and college that were
integrated,” Hicklin said. “I knew that everyone wasn’t the same. I was fully aware. But the
way we were taught, we were told we had good potential. We just had to do it. And we did it.
And the relationships that I had with a number of my teachers through those years and through
college were white. They really cared and it wasn’t a missionary type of thing. Some of them
eventually came there and retired there. They were just people who wanted to see us
succeed. And they were always encouraging. I never felt inferior.”