The Southern Poverty Law Center is based in Montgomery, Alabama in the South of the US. It was started in 1971 by Morris Dees as a civil rights law firm. Their first case forced the local YMCA to racially integrate their athletic offerings. In 1996 USA Today reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center was "the nation's richest civil rights organization" with $68 million in assets.
The center claims to be engaged in tolerance education, litigation against white supremacy groups, tracking of hate groups and sponsorship of the Civil Rights Memorial. SPLC publishes in-depth analysis of political extremism and bias crimes in the United States in the quarterly /Intelligence Report.
Some people have accused Morris Dees of practicing a modern-day form of McCarthyism using smear campaigns against those who question government actions. Others accuse him of exaggerating the threat of the Ku Klux Klan and Militia groups as a mail order fundraising tool.