Bogalusa Deacons for Defense and Justice

An armed self-defense group of African American Men that protected civil rightsindividuals and organizations in theU.S. Southern states during the 1960s. Historically, the organizationpracticed self-defense methods in the face of racist oppression that was carried out under the Jim Crow Lawsby local/state government officials and racist vigilantes; the Ku Klux Klan. 

Bogalusa Deacon for Defense and Justice. Photo now in The Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Bogalusa Deacon for Defense and Justice. Photo now in The Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

In 1964 a small group of African American men in Jonesboro, Louisiana, defied the nonviolence policy of the mainstream civil rights movement and formed an armed self-defense organization - the Deacons for Defense and Justice - to protect Civil Rights Leaders and Black and White CORE civil rights  workers from vigilante Ku Klux Klan and police violence. With their largest and most famous chapter at the center of a bloody campaign in the Ku Klux Klan stronghold of Bogalusa, Louisiana, the Deacons became a popularsymbol of the growing frustration with Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent strategy and a rallying point for a militant working-class movement in the South was created in Jonesboro, Louisiana by Earnest ” Chilly Willy” Thomas and Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick, to protect the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) against ku klux klan violence. The Deacons were mostly black veterans of World War II and the Korean War. The Jonesboro Deacons came to Bogalusa, La. on February 21, 1965 and organized it’s first affiliate chapter under the direction of  Robert Hicks, Charles Sims, Bert Wyre, Aurilus “Reeves” Perkins, Sam Bonds, Fletcher Anderson and others. 

The television movie; Deacons for Defense, produced by Showtime starring academy-award winners Forest Whitaker, Ossie Davis and Jonathan Silverman are still being shown across the nation and in different parts of the world. The film is based on the struggle of the actual Deacons for Defense against the Jim Crow South in a powerful area ofBogalusa, Louisiana controlled by the Ku Klux Klan. 

Below: Forest Whitaker takes time off one of his film settings to talk to and listen to untold stories about the Deacons from the Hicks Family. One of the characters in the film played by Forest was of Deacons Robert Hicks and Charles Sims and AZ Young. You’re read the books and articles, on armed self-defense in the civil rights movement, NOWits time to hear from the few surviving courageous men and the people who were there and lived through the struggles because of the presence of the Deacons.  Their History and Stories will be featured in Bogalusa Louisiana’s   first Civil Rights Museum. {Opening in 2018}  Help us document and preserve this history.  Tax deductible donations can be made today.   

Amendment II

The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment XIV

The Right to Equal Protection (all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Above: This shotgun (in the Hicks Home) was used by Black Men who were members of the Bogalusa Deacons for Defense and Justic to protect Robert Hicks and his family, local/national leaders and members of the movement: Black and White Civil Rights Workers (CORE, SNCC), college students, lawyers, visitors, men, women, and children protestors.

Left: This shotgun was donated by the Robert "Bob" Hicks Foundation to The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.