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View Full Version : The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the [1960's] Civil Rights Movement


oaklander
02-14-2010, 12:17 AM
I was listening to Rage Against the Machine, and musing on the fact that this is Black History Month. That, and recent news events, kind of got me pumped up to do some more research on the civil rights movement of the 1960's. . .

There appears to be a growing amount of scholarship that indicates that the "non-violent civil rights movement" was a myth, and that the real meat of the movement was the potential threat of armed resistance.

While I am certainly not advocating any kind of armed resistance, it is most interesting to note the past role that firearms have played in securing the rights of the disenfranchised. . .

This folks, is WHY the founders gave us the 2nd Amendment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deacons_for_Defense_and_Justice

The Deacons for Defense and Justice were an armed self defense African American civil rights organization in the U.S. Southern states during the 1960s.The organization practiced self-defense methods in the face of racist oppression that was carried out by Jim Crow Laws; local and state agencies; and the Ku Klux Klan. Many times the Deacons are not written about or cited when speaking of the Civil Rights Movement because their agenda of self-defense, in this case, using violence (if necessary) did not fit the image of strict non-violence agenda that leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached about the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, there has been a recent debate over the crucial role the Deacons and other lesser known militant organizations played on local levels throughout much of the rural South. Many times in these areas the Federal government did not always have complete control over to enforce such laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Voting Rights Act of 1965.

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_social_history/v039/39.1adams.pdf

In his Deacons for Defense, Lance Hill directs long overdue attention to the Deacons for Defense (DFD) and what he rightly calls, “The Myth of Nonviolence.”

Using an impressive array of sources including: archival materials, government documents, FBI files and a substantial body of oral history, Hill argues “that black collective force did not simply enhance the bargaining power of moderates; it was the source of their power.”1 Even the limited success of civil rights organizations such as SNCC, CORE, the NAACP or the SCLC depended upon the threat of collective black violence in the form of Malcolm X, urban rebellions or the DFD.

As one of African Americans’ most successful, if least remembered, indigenous working class political movements in the South, the significance of the Deacons for Defense rested not only in their advocacy of armed self defense, but also in the ideological challenge they represented for middle class black leadership.

pitchbaby
02-14-2010, 12:22 AM
I haven't read into any of your links, but assuming they all check out..... It's funny how history has a way of being manipulated by those who actually write it.

hoffmang
02-14-2010, 12:22 AM
http://warhistorian.org/usawc/elective-course_clip_image019.jpg

Defense against Tyranny has always been man's finest hour.

-Gene

oaklander
02-14-2010, 12:30 AM
Not a big GOA fan - but this article caught my eye:

http://gunowners.org/op0438.htm

Addendum:

Second Amendment attorney Don Kates showed this column to a friend of his who is a Yale law professor in 2005. In the 1960's, he was an eye witness to the effectiveness of the Deacons for Defense, as this note to Don Kates states.

Don:
I was in New Orleans in August 1965, working as a just-graduated law student with the black law firm (Collins, Douglas, & Elie) who represented CORE. When I and a few other whites went to Bogalusa to help the bogalusa Voters League stage a protest march there, we were met outside of town by the Deacons and escorted to the BVL staging area by a black man in a pickup truck equipped with a shotgun prominently displayed, and although we were followed by whites who knew what we were there for, they did not stop our truck, presumably because they knew we were armed. We proceeded with the march amid much heckling, threats, and verbal abuse by the crowds of whites lining the route but the Deacons maintained order while the local police stood by brandishing weapons that could have been used against us rather than against the mob. I shall never forget the pride, courage, and hospitality displayed by the black community there, threatened by their townsmen but protected by their own Deacons. I have no doubt that their weapons had something to do with it

hoffmang
02-14-2010, 12:39 AM
When civil rights are on the line and it's not clear who is on which team, history has shown that the right to arms is the last best choice.

http://iamyouasheisme.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/20070213-huey_newton.jpg

-Gene

gunsmith
02-14-2010, 12:45 AM
Condi Rice said her dad and friends would guard against kkk attacks with shotguns.
I've seen pictures of old naacp'ers with guns!

7x57
02-14-2010, 7:56 AM
I guess I "always" knew (i.e. so long that I don't remember how or when I figured it out) that Malcom X formed the "bad cop" to MLK's "good cop," and that MLK and perhaps also Malcom X worked this intentionally. Is this not common knowledge?

7x57

oaklander
02-14-2010, 8:08 AM
I knew that.

Not unlike the relationship between certain 2A groups.

I guess I "always" knew (i.e. so long that I don't remember how or when I figured it out) that Malcom X formed the "bad cop" to MLK's "good cop," and that MLK and perhaps also Malcom X worked this intentionally. Is this not common knowledge?

7x57

krazz
02-14-2010, 8:37 AM
Check out the latest Firing Line, Gene has a real nice article on them.

PS...I AM a GOA fan.

JDoe
02-14-2010, 8:39 AM
I was made aware of the Deacons for Defense and Justice through a posting here on Calguns last year. Ever since that time I have been quietly proud of those good people who didn't stand by and let evil triumph.

For what it's worth Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?q=%22deacons+for+defense%22&btnG=Search+Books) has a good selection (698 on "deacons for defense" 14 are full view.) of books and articles about the Deacons for Defense and Justice.

GrizzlyGuy
02-14-2010, 8:45 AM
Here's a great documentary (No Guns for Negroes (http://nogunsfornegroes.net/)) made by JPFO (http://www.jpfo.org/):

nckgyfGbdnU


2g7TbxkJuqA

hoffmang
02-14-2010, 11:07 AM
The real key to the Deacons was the almost immeasurable patience they showed. They used their arms only defensively and kept their ambitions local. The Panthers were taking their cues from the Deacons, but they had a much more impulsive attitude about it. Granted the environment in Oakland was different than the various towns and small cities in the South.

-Gene

Scarecrow Repair
02-14-2010, 11:14 AM
Gene is responsible for getting me excited about the Deacons. The book by professor Lance Hill is amazing in its detail. The movie is a made-for-TV movie, I think, good enough. It is accurate in the composite sense, but how else could they condense 5 years into an hour and a half? If you aren't sure you want to plow thru the book (tho it is a good read), get the movie. It's worth buying just so you can loan it to friends.

It would make a dynamite modern miniseries. If I had bazillions for the project, I'd fund one for prime time TV to back the gun control nuts into a corner they wouldn't like, trying to not look like racists.

What amazed me most about the Deacons was how little they actually shot. Maybe only two or three times, I forget now. The most interesting was when they had a northern organizer down for a while, staying in their neighborhood, and they stood guard outside. Sure enough, a KKK car came in and took a few shots at the house -- the Deacons fired back from bushes and trees and a rooftop or two, seriously injured one of the KKK, and the KKK was so freaked out and humilated that they drove across two state lines before finding a hospital to drop him off at. Some friends! More worried about their humiliation than getting their friend to a hospital.

They were amazing. Just 45 years ago ... and left and right stereotypes' brains come to a stop when they have to think about it. Neither can stand the idea that blacks stood up for themselves. Left wingers are horrified that guns were the tool necessary, and right wingers are horrified that blacks threatened whites. It is quite fun to talk about the Deacons anywhere those stereotypes hang out. I have done it once or twice with friends, just starting a casual conversation. People give you the evil eye, shut up, and edge away. Kids not so much, they are more curious than anything, but mostly because they are way too young to have any idea what the civil rights movement was about or how things could have been that screwed up.

Get the movie. If it intrigues you, buy the book. Be sure to not mind losing either if you loan them out -- buy another copy. Spread the word. Remember, some of them are still alive -- it was only 45 years ago that the second amendment was last used as intended by the founding fathers.

7x57
02-14-2010, 11:30 AM
I knew that.


Yeah, but you're hardly limited to general knowledge about Malcolm X. :D


Not unlike the relationship between certain 2A groups.

It's an effective system if you can work it--environmental and animal-rights groups get a lot of mileage from it. I once naively thought that GoC would play the same role, but it doesn't actually seem to instil enough fear to be an effective bad cop.

7x57

oaklander
02-14-2010, 2:50 PM
That relationship even works among certain "board members."

;)

It's an effective system if you can work it--environmental and animal-rights groups get a lot of mileage from it. I once naively thought that GoC would play the same role, but it doesn't actually seem to instil enough fear to be an effective bad cop.

Bend
02-14-2010, 3:57 PM
The family sees it every MLK day.

Amazon DVD's (http://www.amazon.com/Deacons-Defense-Forest-Whitaker/dp/B0000C2IR6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1266195243&sr=1-1)

Foulball
02-14-2010, 4:12 PM
I was listening to Rage Against the Machine

Oak, I'm not gay but after reading this, I think I'd let you be the mother of my children.

:43:

I have nothing else to add to this thread, thank you for reading.

oaklander
02-14-2010, 5:23 PM
FTW!

:D

Oak, I'm not gay but after reading this, I think I'd let you be the mother of my children.

:43:

I have nothing else to add to this thread, thank you for reading.

bruceflinch
02-14-2010, 5:48 PM
Good Stuff, Kevin!

nicki
02-14-2010, 5:59 PM
Kevin,

This is a great post and it is something we definitely need to look more into as a way to reach the Afro American community.

Gee, maybe we could find a small city in the Bay area that has a high Black Population and an arrogant police department to try some public educationally outreach with.

I wonder do we have any potential cities that would fall into this category:rolleyes:

Nicki

jdberger
02-14-2010, 6:16 PM
When civil rights are on the line and it's not clear who is on which team, history has shown that the right to arms is the last best choice.

http://iamyouasheisme.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/20070213-huey_newton.jpg

-Gene

That's one of my favorite pictures. That's a Marlin Goose Gun in his right hand. 12 Ga bolt action shotgun.

7x57
02-14-2010, 6:32 PM
BTW, there is plenty of focus on the Deacons and also civil-rights lawyers (may include Don Kates, he's on the video anyway) packing in the '60s in the movie "In Search of the Second Amendment." It's a well-done presentation.

7x57

pullnshoot25
02-14-2010, 6:56 PM
Here's a great documentary (No Guns for Negroes (http://nogunsfornegroes.net/)) made by JPFO (http://www.jpfo.org/):

nckgyfGbdnU


2g7TbxkJuqA

This is the next movie being shown by my club for movie night :)

yellowfin
02-14-2010, 8:32 PM
Strange that they did absolutely nothing to stop the "Great Society". LBJ did more to hurt blacks than the KKK could ever dream of doing, strange that no one is attempting to stop it. My hometown of Montgomery is in ruins thanks to the left having hijacked civil rights and turned it into the corrupt, twisted caricature of itself that it is today. For all the intentions of the Deacons their legacy has done nothing to prevent the very people they were defending from turning to embracing their own degradation.

GuyW
02-14-2010, 9:01 PM
and left and right stereotypes' brains come to a stop when they have to think about it. Neither can stand the idea that blacks stood up for themselves. Left wingers are horrified that guns were the tool necessary, and right wingers are horrified that blacks threatened whites.

Yeah, tell us about stereotypes - none of my "right wing" friends think any such thing....

.

RobDog
02-14-2010, 9:17 PM
Look what the NRA is offering. I would love to send a copy to Eric Holder! Is it just me or is his contempt for firearms and self protection a little ironic?

RobDog.

Does the Second Amendment apply to the states? The Supreme Court will soon decide that critical question. As that historic day approaches, there’s no better time for all Americans to learn more about this issue.

Now, you can donate to NRA-ILA and get the top source on the subject: Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms, 1866-1876, by Stephen P. Halbrook

This hardcover, 230-page book has been a key source of primary materials for scholars and attorneys challenging the Chicago handgun ban. Now out of print, copies cost $75 or more online, but you can receive your copy, with no shipping charge, for a $25 donation to NRA-ILA.

Stephen P. Halbrook is one of the leading legal scholars in the country on the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. He has written extensively on the topic, including The Founders' Second Amendment, That Every Man be Armed, A Right to Bear Arms, and Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms, 1866-1876.

In Freedmen, Halbrook provides extensive documentation from Reconstruction sources demonstrating that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was intended to apply the Second Amendment to the states. In this exhaustive text, Halbrook provides a detailed history of the violence directed against freedmen who possessed firearms in the Reconstruction South, and extensive documentation of the intent of the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment to protect the right of newly freed slaves to possess firearms.

Freedman concludes with an analysis of the Supreme Court's unfinished and incomplete jurisprudence concerning the extent to which the Fourteenth Amendment protects the guarantees of the Bill of Rights, particularly the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms.

SgtDinosaur
02-15-2010, 4:55 PM
Panthers, baby! Now this is really strange, but I always sympathized with them. When I was 15 my mother told me it was a good thing I wasn't black because I would probably be right out there with the Panthers.

For those who are history-challenged, California actually was a "free state" more or less until the Mulford Act in 1967. From the Calguns Wiki:

Loaded guns in public banned - Mulford Act, 1967
A frightened California legislature passed the Mulford Act which gave us Penal Code 12031.

Google it.

Theseus
02-15-2010, 5:43 PM
There are two recommended documentaries. This and another one about the origins of the LA gangs being long before as groups of blacks formed to protect themselves from the gangs of the whites. . . I can't remember the name.

SanPedroShooter
02-16-2010, 7:28 AM
read alex haley's "as told to by" biography of Malcom X for good insight into armed "so called negro' resistance. one of my favorite books about a man with generally misunderstood idea's, especially after his split from the nation of islam. Whites were horrified that blacks might be learning judo or arming themselves.

Carlosa
02-16-2010, 6:38 PM
The Black Panther Party for self defense is one of the most inspiring stories in my opinion, of recent events in history that prove the importance of the second amendment.
I also think it is funny how the Government managed to slander them, and paint them as radical militant negros working out side the rule of law and as a terrorist group.

second funny fact is that the open carry laws in CA changed because black people in Oakland used the state and national constitutions to put a stop to the Oakland police department constant terrorizing of their communities.

cheers,
Los.