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Deacons for Defense (2003)

The words "Black Power" bring back memories of names like Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and Eldridge Cleaver, but in Bogalusa, LA a group of harassed Afro-Americans had decided they'd ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcus Clay
William Chase
Michael Deane
Reverend 'Rev' Gregory
Gene Mack ...
Paul Benjamin ...
Rose Clay
Serena Lee ...
Lucille Clay
Khafre Armatrading ...
Brooks Clay
Charles Hillibrand
Beau Starr ...
Aaron Walpole ...


The words "Black Power" bring back memories of names like Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and Eldridge Cleaver, but in Bogalusa, LA a group of harassed Afro-Americans had decided they'd had enough and took up arms to defend themselves and force the white power structure to listen to them. This took place during "Freedom Summer", 1964, right after the Civil Rights Act had become law. Fact based movie stars Forest Whitaker and Ossie Davis, the former as the founder of the Deacons of Defense and Justice (DDJ) and the latter as a peaceful minister trying to prevent the unavoidable violence that will follow. The story revolves around the white-controlled factory which provides 70% of the town's income and employees 40% of its people. Segregation is still clinging on within the factory, with blacks denied the supervisory positions and forced into separate lunchrooms, bathrooms, and drinking fountains. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has its strongest power in this area and, as the DDJ gets armed ... Written by AzRanger <Ranger273@azrangers.org>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent images and language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

16 February 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A védelem diakónusai  »

Filming Locations:


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[Some members want Marcus removed as leader of the Deacons]
Rev. Gregory: I have been living in fear of the Klan all my life. Was bred in me as a child, and it made me less than a man. But all of that has changed because of you. You freed me, son. You woke up something in me, so don't you stop. Don't you dare stop. And tomorrow, I'm gonna be marching with you, and I'm gonna march every day to change what's happening down here. And there ain't gonna be no change in leadership. Ain't gonna be no steppin' down. ...
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Featured in 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Accurate depiction of the events in my hometown
26 August 2005 | by (Palm Desert, California) – See all my reviews

I was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana (the lumber town depicted in "Deacons for Defense") and lived through the events depicted in this movie. I can attest to the fact that it is very factually recounted. The tension between the blacks and the whites during that time were very high and emotionally charged. As a child I was taught by my Klansman father that black people were to be hated. For whatever reason that never really rang true to me and I refused to hate. It's so strange to look back objectively on a movie like this that reopens those old wounds. It's about the black citizens of Bogalusa who form a group intending to protect themselves from the bigotry that envelops the city and the tough choices they had to make going into this situation with little or no backup from the city police or the elected politicians in the area. It's really a very good movie.

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