|Illustration by Brett Ryder|
Since 2001, the Southern Poverty Law Center has published its annual hate group list, billed as the country's definitive who's who of organized bigotry and venom. It includes such luminaries as the American Nazi Party, Nation of Islam, and the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The center, based in Montgomery, Alabama, has certainly earned its credibility.
The Klan firebombed its headquarters. White supremacists targeted its founder and leading light Morris Dees for murder. The center once scored a $7 million judgment against the United Klans of America for lynching a black Alabama teenager. Included in the spoils was the deed to the Klan's 7,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Each year, the SPLC's 15-member investigative staff gathers police reports and intelligence from field sources. Its most recent report identified 800-plus active hate groups across the country.More »