SPLC Releases Findings on Extremist Groups

(Memphis) A national organization sent a letter to the White House pleading with leaders to get a handle on public safety.

Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center said the country needs to crack down on groups spreading hate messages.

The SPLC did a four-year long study on extremist groups and found in just four years all over the country, those kinds of groups quadrupled, twice!

Here in the Mid-South we saw growth, but it was different than in other parts of the country.

The election of the nation’s first black president and the crumbling of our economy is why the SPLC blames an astronomical growth in extremist groups.

Here in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas, those groups aren’t dominant, the SPLC found growth in traditional hate groups.

“Hate groups, Klan groups, Neo-Nazi groups, some anti-gay, groups that basically attack groups of people because of a class characteristic,” said Mark Potok with the SPLC.

Dozens of these groups were found in the tri-state.

The SPLC includes the Ku Klux Klan and the Nation of Islam in the immediate Memphis area.

Researchers believe social media helps fuel them.

The SPLC told News Channel 3, it worries social media will help the Klan rally more members to Memphis at the end of the month.

“It used to be hard to advertise a Klan rally. Most printers would not print pamphlets even if you had the money. Then you would have to pass them out, which could be dangerous and someone might sock you in the nose,” said Potok.

Klansmen coming to Memphis to rally March 30th will not be allowed to wear their infamous hoods, which many in the city believe will stop a large showing of the KKK, but the SPLC says Klansmen will still come, regardless.

“Many states have anti-masking laws. Most Klansmen are used to this,” said Potok.

SPLC Hate Map: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map

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