CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ohio's former Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, fresh off his loss in the race for governor, has been refashioning himself as a conservative Townhall.com pundit. He tells an interesting story this week about black southerners in small Louisiana towns who armed themselves and refused to be cowed by the Klan. He writes, "Unfortunately, these freedom fighters are seldom mentioned as an important part of African-American history."
Google "Deacons For Defense Louisiana." Nearly 39,000 hits appear, including reviews and background about a MOVIE that tells the story of Blackwell's "seldom mentioned freedom fighters." There are even schedules for dates the movie was aired on national television, and reviews published about the film are easily found. In fact, the movie's cast, which included actor Ossie Davis, won several awards.
The Deacons also are the subject of a Lance Hill book, The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, which Blackwell mentions and cites.
There is a Wikipedia entry about the Deacons for Defense. Interestingly, Wikipedia cites an article in The Nation, a liberal publication that wrote about the group's existence before Blackwell.
And Gun Owners of America's Larry Platt penned a piece about the Deacons in August 2004. At the time, Platt said it was a "little known" organization, a phrase that pre-dates Blackwell's use of "seldom mentioned" by more than two years.
Wait, there's more. The FBI files about the Deacons are ONLINE and offered for sale.
Blackwell's column about the Deacons is HERE, and he makes the argument that because they were armed, and were not afraid to use those guns, they were able to protect themselves, their families and property from KKK white supremacists. No dispute on that.
But his logic is a little fuzzy. Though Blackwell contends hardly anybody knows about these gun-toting freedom fighters, he also says the Deacons had signficiant impact on the progress of civil rights in the segregated South.
Here's what Blackwell wrote: "Their actions in the mid-1960s had perhaps more impact on the progress of civil rights than did President Eisenhower's 1957 dispatching of troops to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas."
UPDATE: 12:21 p.m. Blackwell's column drew THIS thoughtful review on KingsRightSite. And Blackwell's is reprinted in full at RightAngleBlog where the headline notes the role of the the Second Amendment in the civil rights movement. Blackwell is slammed on BuckeyeStateBlog over his contention in the column that the Brady law is racist. Blackwell may be out of office, but he sure hasn't lost his edge as a political provacateur -- talk about packing heat.