Mission: To fight hate and bigotry and seek justice for the most vulnerable members of society.
Background: Founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin, Jr. in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center is internationally known for its efforts to track and expose the activities of hate groups in the United States. SPLC defines hate groups as groups that have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for an immutable characteristic. According to the center, "Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing." The center uses information from group publications and websites, news and law enforcement reports, and other sources to determine whether to classify a group as a hate group. The center currently tracks 917 groups across the country that it has determined are actively engaged in spreading hate. The number includes at least 130 active Ku Klux Klan groups, 99 neo-Nazi groups, and 100 white nationalist groups. The center's data also shows that 193 black separatist groups and 663 "anti-government patriot" groups were active in 2015-16.
It should be noted that a number of Christian and conservative 501(c)(3) organizations have recently criticized the center for including them in the map along with groups like the Aryan Nation.
Outstanding Web Feature: SPLC's interactive hate map tracks the recent growth in the number of hate groups nationally. Visitors to the site can toggle between a view of groups by type and location or a view showing group totals by state. In addition, the data can be filtered by group (e.g., anti-immigrant, black separatist, KKK, neo-Nazi, white nationalist) and/or individual state. The site also provides longitudinal data illustrating the "explosive rise in the number of hate groups since the turn of the century," as well as several other resources, including a database of prominent extremists and extremist organizations; a list of active hate groups; a searchable court docket featuring summaries of current and historical civil rights cases; and a Hatewatch portal through which concerned Americans can stay abreast of current news and headlines related to extremism in the U.S.