What hate groups are active in Alabama?

Alabama.com/June 19, 2015

By Erin Edgemon

Hate group membership appears to be on the decline, but acts by 'lone wolfs' like in the shooting that killed 9 in a black church in Charleston, S.C., are on the rise, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"Since 2000, we've seen an increase in the number of hate groups in our country — groups that vilify others on the basis of characteristics such as race or ethnicity," SPLC's President Richard Cohen said in a statement. "Though the numbers have gone down somewhat in the last two years, they are still at historically high levels.

The increase has been driven by a backlash to the country's increasing racial diversity, an increase symbolized, for many, by the presence of an African American in the White House," he continued.

SPLC tracks hate groups and lists 18 being active in the state of Alabama, but they don't have an accurate count of the groups' membership.

None of these organizations have been linked to acts of violence in recent years, SPLC spokesman Alex Amend said, and there are no active threats in Alabama.

Hate groups on the rise?

Two city of Anniston police officers, Lt. Josh Doggrell and Lt. Wayne Brown, were placed on administrative leave recently over allegations that they belong to the neo-confederate group, League of the South.

Groups such as the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and United Klans of America have actively recruited members by distributing flyers across the state of Alabama for at least the last year.

Amend said it's unclear if any of these groups were able to recruit new members.

Also, KKK members have attended events this year recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and against gay marriage.

Most extremist groups have moved to online communities on sites like Reddit and Storm Front, the largest white supremacist internet forum, rather than taking part in organized activities on the ground, he said.

Lone wolfs

Suspected Charleston killer Dylann Storm Roof joins the ranks of recent mass shootings spurred by hate or ant-government sentiments. It's not believed as of right now that he was a member of any white supremacist group.

Of the 63 domestic terrorist events that occurred between April 2009 and Feb. 1, 2015, 74 percent of them were carried out by a single person, according to SPLC.

A total of 90 percent of them were carried out by one or two people, the study stated.

In his Facebook profile picture, Roof is shown wearing a jacket with two flag patches on it. SPLC identified them as flags from apartheid South Africa and white-rule Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

Amend said the flags are obscure symbols, but some white supremacists display them like they do swastikas.

Roof also has a decorative license plate on his vehicle of a Confederate flag.

Here's a list of the hate groups currently believed to be active in Alabama:

  • Confederate Hammerskins, a racist skinhead group, has an active chapter in Huntsville. The Anti-Defamation League calls the group the most violent and best-organized neo-Nazi skinhead group in the United States
  • Council of Conservative Citizens, are white nationalists with chapters in Birmingham, Eufaula, Florence, Montgomery.  This group is considered be white supremacists, a reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils that were formed to resist desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Crew 38 is a racist skinhead gang with chapters in Birmingham and Huntsville.    League of the South are neo-confederates with chapters in Killen and Wetumpka. The group advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by "European Americans.    
  • Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan    
  • Nation of Islam has a chapter in Birmingham. Black separatists and not linked to mainstream Muslims. Group has racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay views.    
  • National Socialist Movement is the largest and most prominent neo-Nazi group in the United States. The group is notable for its violent anti-Jewish rhetoric    
  • Occidental Dissent, white nationalists, with a chapter in Eufaula    
  • Southern National Congress, neo-confederates, with a chapter in Wetumpla    
  • Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan with a chapter in Prattville    
  • True Invisible Empire Knights, a KKK group with a chapter in Elkmont    
  • United Klans of America, a KKK group with chapters in Ashland and Anniston

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