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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Did You Know?


[dropping two civil right workers off at the county line]
Lawson: Now the only reason you boys ain't hurtin' is because you got the same skin color as God. But this is a one-time pass. Remember what happened to those northern boys in Mississippi.
[Sheriff smacks Deane across the mouth]
Lawson: Y'all know which way to go.
[Sheriff drives away then Deane walks back]
Michael Deane: Let's go.
Charles Hillibrand: What are you kidding me?
Michael Deane: No, I'm not kidding.
Charles Hillibrand: They're not fooling around, Michael. They *will* kill us. Why are you willing to die for this? ...
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Featured in 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

an important film that needed to be made
19 February 2005 | by (austin, tx) – See all my reviews

while we like to think of a world where violence is not necessary, there are times when one needs to defend oneself. this film mentions an important example: how is it that a man is allowed to fight against strangers in a war on another continent, and yet not allowed to defend his own family at home? we are still not where we need to be. i can think of too many examples of racism that i, as a white man have witnessed against people of color. we should not tolerate hate. one day i hope that understanding will conquer the ignorance that is the source of all hatred. this movie is a powerful reminder that we should not tolerate injustice. we all need to defend against those who allow violence to oppress.

we cannot allow the characterization of those different from us in the simplistic terms of being "less than" us. it is one thing to be proud of yourself, but as a race, as the human race, we cannot be proud of ourselves until we truly establish that one of us has no need to defend himself against another.

and this message could be just as easily translated into the way we deal with the difference in culture and religion between the west and the middle east. this film shows the true price of civil rights and reminds us that we cannot tolerate ignorance wherever it rears its proud, lazy, and ugly head.

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