President Donald Trump’s successful campaign and election win unleashed a level of hatred not seen in the United States in decades. According to the latest annual intelligence report from civil rights advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center, 917 hate groups were active across the nation last year, up from 892 in 2015, and 784 in 2014. Hate-group activity burst into the open this past weekend when white nationalist groups convened on Charlottesville, Virginia. They fought with counter-protesters that led to the death of one person.
Because these groups have a tendency to hide the nature of their organizations, these tallies — while the best available numbers — likely underestimate the true levels of hate group activity. Based on data provided by SPLC, Montana leads the nation with 9.6 known active hate groups for every 1 million state residents. Indiana rounds out the list of 10 with 3.9 hate groups per 1 million. Nationwide, there are 2.8 hate groups for every 1 million Americans.
> Hate groups: 5.6/million
> Number of hate groups: 27
> Pct. pop. identifying as white: 68.5% (13th lowest)
> Pct. pop foreign born: 3.5% (8th lowest)
As is the case across much of the Southern United States, organized hatred in Alabama is likely rooted in the state’s legacy of slavery. Thousands of racially-motivated lynchings taking place between the late 19th to mid 20th centuries have been documented across the South, hundreds of which occurred in Alabama. And with Dr. Martin Luther King’s protest march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, it may not come as a surprise that hate group activity in Alabama today tends to be racially motivated. There are currently 11 KKK chapters throughout the state, five neo-Confederate groups, and two white nationalist organizations.
The SPLC identified last year militant anti-immigration hate group Border Keepers of Alabama. The Birmingham-based organization may have as many as eight heavily armed volunteer “teams” it says can be deployed to patrol border towns.
Active hate groups in the United State rose dramatically after former President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. According to SPLC’s count, the number of hate groups surged 800% from 2008 to 2012, when the tally peaked at 1,360 groups. Obama’s race likely led to the hate group spike in 2012. SPLC’s observations suggest the promotion of far-right radicalism in Trump’s campaign rhetoric led to the more recent rise in hate crimes.