Deacons for Defense
The Deacons for Defense were a group of black people who used guns to stop lynchings and firebombing by the KKK.
"In contrast to the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders, who stressed a peaceful approach, DDJ encouraged African-Americans to arm themselves for self-defense. The group did not promote violence; rather, they recruited members to carry guns in order to protect themselves and those working on their behalf. It was in defiance of CORE’s nonviolent terms that Thomas, a military veteran, began going armed while guarding CORE’s freedom house in Jonesboro from Klan attacks."
"Nonviolence unquestionably defined the black freedom movement from 1954-1963 … But by the end of 1962 Martin Luther King and the more militant nonviolent organizations had fallen victim to state repression and terrorism. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), [Congress of Racial Equality] CORE, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had all failed to secure local reform, voting rights, or protective federal legislation … [The Deacons’] willingness to retaliate against Klan violence ultimately forced the federal government to enforce the Civil Rights Act and the Bill of Rights, assert federal supremacy, and destroy two major pillars of white supremacy—local police repression and Klan terror."
Dr. Lance Hill