Deacons for Defense and Justice | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed

Deacons for Defense and Justice | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed – The Deacons emerged as one of the first visible self-defense forces in the South and as such represented a new face of the civil rights movement. Traditional civil rights organizations remained silent on them or repudiated their activities. They were effective however in providing protection for local African Americans who sought to register to vote and for white and black civil rights workers in the area. The Deacons, for example, provided security for the 1966 March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi. Moreover their presence in Southeastern Louisiana meant that the Klan would no longer be able to intimidate and terrorize local African Americans without challenge. The strategy and methods that the Deacons employed attracted the attention and concern of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which authorized an investigation into the group’s activities. The investigation stalled, however, when more influential black power organizations such as US and the Black Panther Party emerged after the 1965 Watts Riot. With public attention, and the attention of the FBI focused elsewhere, the Deacons lost most of their notoriety and slowly declined in influence. By 1968 they were all but extinct. In 2003 the activities of the Deacons was the subject of a 2003, “Deacons for Defense.”

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: