The Deacons were a group of black veterans from World War II and Korea who formed twenty-one chapters throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to protect civil rights workers from the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, arming themselves with guns in a distinct shift from the non-violent stance of organizations like Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Founded in November 1964, they settled on their name the following January and incorporated as a non-profit in March. They became an inspiration to the later militant self-defense organization the Black Panthers.
In the photo on the 1965 home page, member Charles Sims holds Klan hoods in front of the courthouse of Bogalusa, Louisiana.
At 43:26 the Deacons appear in the episode “The Time Has Come” of the famed PBS series Eyes on the Prize: