Deacons for Defense (film)

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Deacons for Defense
Written by Michael D'Antonio (story)
Richard Wesley (teleplay)
Frank Military (teleplay)
Directed by Bill Duke
Starring Forest Whitaker
Christopher Britton
Ossie Davis
Jonathan Silverman
Adam Weiner
Marcus Johnson
Theme music composer Michel Colombier
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Robert Rehme
Editor(s) Harry Keramidas (editor)
David Rosenberg (assistant editor)
Running time 95 minutes
Original release
  • 2003 (2003)

Deacons for Defense is a 2003 American television drama film directed by Bill Duke. The television film stars Forest Whitaker (Academy Award winner), Christopher Britton, Ossie Davis, Jonathan Silverman, Adam Weiner, and Marcus Johnson. Based on a story by Michael D'Antonio, the teleplay was written by Richard Wesley and Frank Military.

The film is loosely based on the activities of the Deacons for Defense and Justice in 1965 in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The African-American self-defense organization was founded in February 1965 as an affiliate of the founding chapter in Jonesboro, Louisiana, to protect activists working with the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), others advancing the Civil Rights Movement, and their families. Bogalusa was a company town, developed in 1906-1907 around a sawmill and paper mill operations. In the 1960s, the area was dominated by the Ku Klux Klan. During the summer of 1965, there were frequent conflicts between the Deacons and the Klan.[1] [2]


Marcus Clay (modeled on Robert Hicks) organizes an all-black group dedicated to patrolling the black section of town and protecting residents from "white backlash" in 1965. Activists continue the struggle to gain social justice after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ending legal racial segregation.

Main cast[edit]


  1. ^ Seth Hague, " 'Niggers Ain’t Gonna Run This Town': Militancy, Conflict and the Sustenance of the Hegemony in Bogalusa, Louisiana", Outstanding History Paper (1997-1998), Loyola University-New Orleans; accessed 11 May 2017
  2. ^ "The Deacons". Gimlet Media. Undone. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-24. 

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