How Guns Played a Role in the Civil Rights Movement | USCCA

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s evokes memories of non-violent resistance to discriminations: marches, bus boycotts and sit-ins at segregated lunch counters and businesses. While many closely associate the movement with non-violence, there was a component that advocated using guns for self-defense. These armed protectors were especially prevalent in the rural South in states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina. In communities controlled by the Ku Klux Klan and terrorized by Klan Night Riders, armed African Americans joined together to defend neighbors, friends, family members and activists. Guns played an essential role during the Civil Rights Movement.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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I grew up in the south during the 1950-60’s… I remember going to the “colored only” restrooms in the courthouse basement. My mom got upset at my brother and I when we wanted to see how that “white only” water tasted. Many nights, we watched as my dad left with his shotgun to go guard our little church. Dad was the head deacon and would take the 9-midnight shift, another deacon would take midnight - 3AM and another 3-sunrise. At Thursday night prayer meeting, we would start with a briefing of escape routes out the back if a bomb was thrown through the front windows. Because of Christ, I hold no bitterness. However, I am a firm believer in one’s God given right to defend oneself and the 2nd Amendment. I will only “turn the other cheek” to get a better shot angle.

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I recall reading about Dr. King’s armed guards. I apologize that I can’t recall what they called themselves. Dr. King was unarmed, as you’d expect, but there was a group of volunteers that followed him under arms in order to protect him, knowing that he was a symbol of the entire civil rights movement.