Interview with Cleveland Sellers

Talk about the Deacon of Defense, for Defense, and of their role and how if Whites were there it would cause some kind of problems.


Well, I, you know, the whole idea of the Deacons for Defense meant that they were, they were in fact armed and their responsibility was to make sure that the march was in fact safe. They walked the sides of the hillsides and, and in the bush and, and that kind of area to make sure that there were no additional sharp shooters or vigilantes in those areas to attack the march. Ah, that was a program and a role that the Deacons for Defense had taken on some time. Ah, it was not a program of SNCC. Ah, it was not a program of, of SCLC. It was not a program of CORE. So we felt like it had been developed in the South. We felt very close to many of the members of the Deacons for Defense. We understood their commitment and dedication and we felt that they could be involved, ah, in, in that effort.