Southern Poverty Law Center

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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an American nonprofit civil rights organization internationally known for its free legal representation of the victims of hate groups, for its monitoring of hate groups and their activities, and for its educational programs promoting tolerance.[2][3][4] The SPLC classifies as hate groups those organizations which denigrate or assault entire groups of people for attributes that are beyond their control. [5]

The SPLC was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin Jr. as a civil rights law firm based in Montgomery, Alabama. [6] Civil rights leader Julian Bond soon joined Dees and Levin and seved as president of the board between 1971 and 1979. [7] The SPLC's litigating strategy involved filing civil suits for damages on behalf of the victims of hate group harassment, threats, and violence with the goal of financially depleting the responsible groups and individuals. While it originally focused on damages done by the Klan and other white supremacists, throughout the years the SPLC has become involved in other civil rights causes, among them, cases concerned with institutional racial segregation and discrimination, the mistreatment of aliens, and the separation of church and state.


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