Icons: The Deacons for Defense and Justice


In America today, almost all citizens have equal civil rights under the law. Fifty years ago, it was a different story. In the 1960s, Southern states such as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama witnessed racial segregation despite passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. White supremacist groups, mainly the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), continued to oppress and intimidate African Americans and civil rights activists, while  local and state authorities watched and sometimes even participated. In his book “The Deacons of Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement” Lance Hill wrote, “severe repression by local authorities and the Klan, combined with economic pressure by white business elites, made it difficult to end segregation and discrimination even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.”