Home Politics The Southern Poverty Law Center’s New Enemy: Americans Who Accept Biology

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s New Enemy: Americans Who Accept Biology


The Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was founded in 1971 with a mission to fight poverty and racial discrimination. Its early litigation campaigns, which targeted the Ku Klux Klan and other overtly racist organizations, met with success, and the group soon came to be seen as an authoritative source in regard to right-wing extremism more generally. 

Another form of expertise the organization developed was in the area of marketing—especially when the market in question consisted of deep-pocketed urban liberals. As former SPLC staffer Bob Moser reported in a 2019 New Yorker article, the group has consistently taken on attention-grabbing urgent-seeming causes that its leaders knew could be leveraged as a means to gain publicity and—more importantly—donations. It’s no coincidence that the SPLC’s co-founder and long-time fundraising guru, Morris Dees, had previously operated a direct-mail business that sold cookbooks and tchotchkes. “Whether you’re selling cakes or causes, it’s all the same,” Dees told a journalist in 1988.

The Reckoning of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center

The work at the S.P.L.C. could be meaningful and gratifying. But it was hard, for many of us there, not to feel like we’d become pawns in what was, in many respects, a…

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