Interview with Floyd McKissick

Deacons for Defense?


The Deacons for Justice and Defense came out of, ah, Louisiana. We had been in Bogalusa together and it was a group that formed to protect, ah, ah, the marchers from attacks when the law enforcement officers would not respond. And, ah, when we got on the Meredith march, the Deacons for Justice and Defense came and they were armed. And the question was are we going to tell the Deacons to go home? And someone said, "They basically grew out of CORE organization and community organizations in Mississippi. You tell them to go home." I said, "No, I refuse to tell them to go home. I think they have a right to be on the march. I think we should tell them as we tell everybody else that we believe in non-violence but I'll not tell these people to go home because they have a right to be here and protect themselves as other people." In other words I don't believe in a, in a standard for White and a standard for Black. I think that violence and non-violence is equally distributed among all races.


Okay, let's stop right there and change rolls.