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Deacons For Defense

The Klan would not stop for Federal injunctions ... but they would stop when their intended victims fought back!

Obviously inspired by the story of Robert Hicks, Deacons For Defense tells a fictionalized story of the armed defense of those marching for civil rights in Bogalusa, Louisiana in 1964.

Forest Whitaker plays Marcus Clay, a black dad who wants no trouble with those in power or with the KKK. He repeatedly orders his teenage daughter to stay away from the marches that young New York lawyers are organizing. But when she is beaten as the police break up a march, he fights back. He is arrested and beaten.

Marcus comes out of his beating a changed man. No longer willing to duck and shuffle and refuse to meet a white man's eye, he calls his fellow church members to arms. They patrol the black section of town armed with whatever firearms they have, baseball bats, and whistles.

The movie combines some of the real incidents of defense by the Deacons throughout the South. It summarizes, dramatizes and fictionalizes. But it accurately portrays the couragous, Constitutional role these men played in the civil rights struggle. Accurately, it shows them defending themselves and their families. Accurately it shows they never came close to engaging in acts of terror like those of the Klan or the Weathermen.

Parents and teachers do need to excercise some discretion for younger audiences. The movie earns an R rating for the violence it depicts including a lynching and several severe beatings and it requires a high tolerance for foul language.
Buy now!
Deacons for Defense (DVD)
Buy now!
The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement

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