Huntington, WV Black History

Cicero M. Fain, Jr.

Community Activist

Cicero M. Fain Jr. is a longtime community activist in the Fairfield neighborhood and in Huntington and helped promote diversity and minority hiring practices throughout his professional career.

A third-generation Huntingtonian, Fain is a graduate of the all-Black Douglass High School Class of 1956 and attended Marshall University.

He was actively involved with the Fairfield West community as PTA President of Simms Elementary School, Lifeguard at A.D. Lewis Center, and a Midget League football coach.

He was a member of the Civic Interests Progressives during the Civil Rights demonstrations in downtown Huntington to integrate Bailey’s Cafeteria & White Pantry restaurants which resulted in his arrest and subsequent acquittal. He demonstrated at The Southern Governors Conference at the The Greenbrier Resort and attended the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in 1963 where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech.

Fain was a pioneer in his professional career as well. He was the first full-time Black salesman in downtown Huntington, the first Black production foreman at Chemetron (later BASF) before being promoted to production control supervisor and then to industrial relations supervisor. In 1985, he was promoted to human resources manager at BASF Corporate Headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey. There, he had responsibilities for three business groups including safety, relocation coordinator and college recruitment. He was a team member to attend NSBE conferences to recruit minority engineers. During this time, he attended diversity conferences and made presentations to the BASF president and his direct reports. The result was a commitment from BASF to increase minority hiring at all levels and facilities throughout the corporation.

In conjunction with the Morris County Urban League, Fain and BASF hosted the first Diversity Conference, which attracted a number of major corporations and helped establish the African American Employee Group (AAEG), which today assists employees in concerns they may have.

In 1994, Fain relocated to Greenville, Ohio, where he was tasked with initiating HR policies for a newly-acquired manufacturing facility. This required selling the programs to current management and hourly employees. His efforts helped increase the number of minority employees by working with the Dayton, Ohio, Urban League, Wilberforce University Corporate Advisory Board (where he was a member) and the Greenville, Ohio, Chamber of Commerce, where he served one year as president.

Fain retired from BASF and now resides in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

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