Dr. Fannie Frazier Hicklin Celebrates Being
an AKA for 75 Years:
Dr. Fannie Frazier Hicklin became a member
of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in 1937
at Talladegha College in Alabama.
Hicklin ended up teaching at Avery School in Charleston, South Carolina, which was also run by the Congregationalists and was a pretty
good school. But pressures mounted to turn the school over to the city because its facilities were in poor shape and the educational
program went down hill as well. And then some racial tensions erupted in town.
“Two of the outstanding teachers in the system were Black,” Hicklin recalled. “They were very established people. They had been living
there for years. They were active members of the NAACP. And the NAACP came under adverse scrutiny. Anyone who belonged to that,
they were vicious with them. And those two people were fired. This is something the Black fraternities and sororities were really in an
upheaval about. They were working on this because it was something that they were very concerned about. Here I was stuck in this
high school that is not at all what I came there for and I was involved with. I just didn’t feel that I needed to stay in that situation.”
Fortunately Hicklin had a connection through Alpha Kappa Alpha.
“I got a call from an AKA there at Alabama A&M saying that she was going to be dean of women and wanted to know if I would be a
counselor and teach,” Hicklin said. “I told her I was interested. She said that she was going to tell Dr. Drake. Sure enough, I got a call.
This was a good time to leave.”
Eventually Hicklin came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1960s to earn her Ph.D. A chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha,
undergraduate or alumnae, didn’t exist in Madison at the time. Fortunately for Hicklin, there were pretty progressive people in the speech
department where she was getting her degree. And the department, even when she was hospitalized with an illness, gave her crucial
“I had to be in the hospital and I had to have an operation,” Hicklin said. “They discovered it between semesters and I thought that I was
going to lose my job as a teaching assistant. But the department just rallied and the faculty and other graduate students rallied everyone.
They hired someone just to teach my courses while I was gone. A number of the students who were teaching assistants had also
volunteered that they would do it. They were a wonderful group of people who responded at that time. Here again, Professor Hableman
stepped in and he said, ‘Now don’t rush back. It will be there for you.’ By that time, I was free of courses that I had to take. The speech
department here was just wonderful.”
After attaining her Ph.D. in 1965, Hicklin secured a professorship at UW-Whitewater where she remained until her retirement. She lived
in Madison and commuted each day that she had classes. Whitewater didn’t have an AKA chapter and so Hicklin remained inactive as
she worked full time and raised her daughter Ariel.
But upon retirement, Hicklin once again became active with the sorority through the Madison alumnae chapter. Even at 95 years old,
Hicklin gets to most of the sorority’s functions. It keeps her energized and a ready group of dedicated women with whom to interact. The
Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority has been there for Hicklin for the past 75 years, helping Hicklin with different needs and interests. And she
has always been there when the sorority needed her. And that is what sisterhood is all about.
By Jonathan Gramling
Part 2 of 2
A natural pink diamond can be the rarest of finds, exquisitely beautiful and unmatched in
quality — a rare find. Sr. Fannie Frazier Hicklin is a pink diamond, in her own way as a
Diamond member of the pink and green Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Beginning in 1937 at
Talladega College in Alabama, Hicklin has been a member, more active than inactive, in
75 of the sorority’s 104 years of existence.
Although she has lived in Madison for 50 years, Hicklin hasn’t lost the lilt of her Southern
accent or her Southern charm. Her home is filled with items she has collected over the
years from her world-wide travels.
Growing up, Hicklin lived on an integrated island surrounded by the segregated sea of
Alabama in the early 20th century at Talladega College where she grew up and attended
college. And when she left the relative safety of Talladega, Hicklin’s relationship with the
sorority would help her out on more than a few occasions as she made her way through