The Lead

As U.S. hate group activity hits a new high, the Southern Poverty Law Center tracked 36 hate groups in Pa. in 2018

By: - February 21, 2019 11:42 am

Screencapture from The Southern Poverty Law Center

Pennsylvania-based hate groups ranging from Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis to white nationalists and the Ku Klux Klan all popped up on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s radar last year, providing a fuller picture of hate group activity in the Keystone State.

You can view the full list of hate groups active in Pennsylvania here. You can see the national overview here.

This new national map was introduced as the SPLC announced it identified 1,020 active hate groups operating in the United States in 2018.

That’s a record number, and a 30 percent increase over the past four years, the group said on its website.

“With the number of hate groups surging during the Trump era, it’s become critically important for people to understand the landscape of hate in the United States,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project. “We hope the new, interactive map helps people recognize and better understand the extremist activity occurring in their communities and how it’s part of a larger movement.”

Since 1990, the Alabama-based civil rights group has annually published its census of hate activity across the United States.

The tally of hate groups is a “barometer, albeit only one, of the level of hate activity in the country,” the SPLC wrote on its website. “The hate map, which depicts the groups’ approximate locations, is the result of a year of monitoring by analysts and researchers and is typically published every January or February. It represents activity by hate groups during the previous year.”

This new data comes in the wake of an Anti-Defamation League report detailing a sharp uptick in murders by domestic extremists, particularly by right-wing groups.

The ADL report cataloged 164 extremist incidents in Pennsylvania in 2017-2018, 96 of which were anti-Semitic incidents. That includes the rampage at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue last October that claimed the lives of 11 people.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.