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Deacons for Defense (2003)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Drama  |  16 February 2003 (USA)
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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 <>

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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  »

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[Getting ready to start the armed patrols of their neighborhood]
Marcus Clay: We started with five men. Now look at us- larger, stronger.
Marcus Clay: Let me hear it.
All: [shouting] Yes, sir.
Marcus Clay: Each squad stays within 100 yards of the other squad. Use your whistles. Don't start talkin' and bunchin' up with other squads. Use your eyes. See them before they see you. All right, let's go.
Marcus Clay: Never again.
All: [shouting] Never again.
Marcus Clay: [shouts] Till peace comes at last.
See more »


Featured in 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Before the Panthers, there were the Deacons.
17 February 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This excellent made-for-cable movies tells the story of a group of blacks in a small mill town who form a defense group to protect themselves from the brutality of the Klan during the dawn of The 1964 Civil Rights Act. The fact-based story centers around the main character played by Forest Whitaker (who gives his best performance in years) who was arrested and beaten by racist cop for protecting his daughter from being beat during a peace demonstration that turned ugly. After that you see his character transform from a "good nigger" who thought he knew his place to a man who realized that his dignity and family were more important than "yes sah-in'" and "no sah-in'" to the racist white townfolks. There's also good turns from Ossie Davis (I don't think this man has ever given a bad performance) and Jonathan Silverman (quite surprising), but the film clearly belongs to Whitaker. A place in American history that has gotten forgotten and buried over the years. A must-see for history buffs.

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