Racist Skinheads: A Timeline of the Movement

Circa 1969
The original skinhead subculture explodes among urban, working-class youths in Britain, combining style elements drawn from white "Mods" and West Indian "Rudeboys." Though tinged with soccer hooliganism, traditional skinhead culture is not racist (to this day, there are black "trad" skins).

Early 1980s
British skinhead scene factionalizes. White power skinheads develop a separate subculture based on the white nationalist music of "Rock Against Communism" bands like Skrewdriver, Skullhead, and No Remorse who opposed the "Rock Against Racism" concerts of anti-racist skins.

Circa 1982
Racist skinheads begin to appear in U.S. in significant numbers.

Circa 1986
Romantic Violence, also known as CASH (Chicago Area Skinheads), takes form as one of the first true racist skinhead gangs in the United States, followed in short order by the Confederate Hammerskins in Dallas.

Former California Klan leader Tom Metzger forms the Aryan Youth Movement, a skinhead division of his white supremacist group White Aryan Resistance (WAR).

1988
Skinhead violence erupts across the United States, with scores of violent attacks and murders recorded over the next four years. 

Tom Metzger and son John organize the first hate rock festival, Aryan Fest, which is held in Oklahoma.

A flying chair breaks the nose of television talk show host Geraldo Rivera during a brawl between skinhead gang leaders and African-American activists on the set of "The Geraldo Rivera Show."

Members of the Confederate Hammerskins patrol Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas, beating any non-white they come across. The gang is ultimately linked to 40 crimes, including the vandalism of a Dallas synagogue. Police foil a plot by armed Hammerskins to destroy Jewish businesses on Nov. 9, the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom also known as the "Night of Broken Glass."

Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw is beaten to death by members of East Side White Pride, a Portland, Ore., gang with close ties to WAR.

1991
In June, more than 60 Aryan National Front (ANF) skinheads and Klansmen march through downtown Birmingham in a dramatic show of force.

1992
In April, members of the skinhead gang ANF murder a homeless black man in Birmingham, Ala., after attending a Hitler birthday party.

1994
Regional Hammerskin factions unite under the common banner of Hammerskin Nation (HSN).

Skinhead gang leader Randall Lee Krager (left) forms Volksfront in Oregon.

1995
Southern California skinhead Randall Rojas beats a homeless black man to death behind a fast-food restaurant.

1997
Bruce Vander Jagt becomes the first American police officer killed in the line of duty by a racist skinhead when he's gunned down in Denver by 25-year-old racist Matthaus Jaehnig after a high-speed chase. The next week, a dead pig bearing Vander Jagt's name is dumped outside a Denver police substation, and Denver skinheads Nathan Thill and Jeremiah Barnum murder a West African immigrant they encounter at a bus stop. Thill later tells a reporter that he killed Oumar Dia because he was "wearing the enemy's uniform" — his black skin.

1998
Independent Nazi Skins gang leader John "Polar Bear" Butler ambushes and kills two Anti-Racist Action members in the desert outside Las Vegas on the Fourth of July.

1999
Florida skinheads attack interracial couples, killing a woman and a child in two separate incidents. 

Five ousted members of the Northern Region of Hammerskin Nation form a renegade outfit they call Outlaw Hammerskins.

Hammerskin Nation reorganizes and throws its first Hammerfest, the group's signature hate rock festival, in rural Bremen, Ga. More than 600 skinheads from across the country attend.

2000
While Hammerskin Nation remains the nation's largest skinhead organization, the number of HSN chapters drops from 27 to 19.

2001
Midland Hammerskin Shane McCormick stabs a black man in a Missouri restaurant.

Hammerfest attendance drops to 220 as HSN's elitist posturing and relentless attempts to dictate the rules of skinhead culture in the U.S. breed widespread resentment.

2002
Skinhead Kevin A. Johnson beats a man to death outside the Courtesy Diner in St. Louis while spewing anti-Semitic epithets, although his victim is not Jewish. 

The Outlaw Hammerskins implode due to infighting.

HSN's power continues to wane.

Hammerfest attendance dwindles to 150.

2003
The number of skinhead chapters nationwide more than doubles, due mostly to the rapidly increasing strength of independent, regional skinhead crews, most notably the Hoosier State Skins (Indiana and Illinois), the Ohio State Skinheads, and the Pennsylvania-based Keystone State Skinheads.

2004
Non-Hammerskin crews continue to evolve and unify.

Members of the Hoosier State Skins and Ohio State Skinheads — including several former Outlaw Hammerskins — form the Vinlander Social Club, also known as the Vinlanders, a skinhead “warrior clan” devoted to drinking, fighting, and a racist form of Odinism, a pagan religion once practiced by Norse Vikings.

2005
The Vinlanders host the first official Blood and Honour Council, a unity meeting of regional skinhead crews also known as the Council of 28 (B is the second letter of the alphabet, H is the eighth; hence, 28 stands for Blood and Honour). The council is attended by at least 60 members of more than a dozen white supremacist groups.

2006
Skinhead resurgence parallels rise in skinhead-related criminal activity.

Kurtis William Monschke, head of the Washington state chapter of Volksfront, helps three other racist skinheads use baseball bats and rocks to beat to death a homeless white man in Tacoma.

State or regionally based independent skinhead crews, such as the Keystone State Skinheads in Pennsylvania, begin to flourish.

Sixty-seven alleged members of the skinhead gang Public Enemy Number 1 are arrested on charges including illegal weapons and drugs, forgery and identity theft. The gang reportedly had a hit list that targeted local police officers and a prosecutor.

2007
American Front founder David Lynch re-emerges on the West Coast as a leader in the nationwide skinhead scene, uniting American Front crews in northern and southern California, Utah and Florida. Rising anti-immigrant sentiment helps fuel movement.

The Hammerskins and the Vinlanders Social Club declare an uneasy truce.

Utah jail inmate and longtime skinhead Curtis Allgier allegedly shoots and kills corrections officer Stephen Anderson while being transported from jail to a local hospital. Anderson’s death marks the second time in a decade a law enforcement officer is killed, allegedly, by a racist skinhead.

2008
Steven Edwards, son of a Kentucky Klan leader, and several associates form a new racist skinhead group called the Supreme White Alliance.

Daniel Cowart, a probationary member of the Supreme White Alliance, and Paul Schlesselman are arrested in Tennessee for plotting to assassinate President Obama and murder more than 100 black people. In 2010, Cowart is sentenced to 14 years in prison and Schlesselman to 10.

2009
Hate group membership rises in the wake of the election of President Obama. Authorities see an increased crossover between skinhead crews and motorcycle gangs, spurring organized criminal activity.

2010
Fifty people are arrested in the largest takedown of white supremacist gangs in Orange County, Calif., history after a two-year federal probe dubbed “Operation Stormfront.” Members of the Aryan Brotherhood, La Miranda Punks, West Coast Costa Mesa Skins, Nazi Low Riders, O.C. Skins and Public Enemy Number 1 are charged with a variety of crimes, including extortion, conspiracy, solicitation of aggravated assault and murder, criminal fraud, and illegal firearms and narcotics sales.

More than a dozen members or associates of the Arizona faction of the Vinlanders are arrested on charges that include aggravated assault, murder, drug possession and misconduct involving firearms.

2011
American Front founder David Lynch is found shot to death in his California home. As of yet, no one has been charged with his murder.

Vinlanders co-founder Eric Fairburn pleads guilty to murder in the 2004 shooting death of a 57-year-old Missouri man and is sentenced to life in prison. A few months later, the Vinlanders hold their first white power concert, “Plunder and Pillage,” in Ohio. The truce between the Vinlanders and the Hammerskins continues to hold.

2012
Six members or associates of the Outlaws motorcycle club and the neo-Nazi 1st SS Kavallerie Brigade Motorcycle Division are arrested on drug-related charges and charges relating to threats to throw a destructive device. They allegedly plotted to blow up buildings and houses and kill rivals.

Twelve members of American Front’s central Florida crew are arrested on charges of conspiracy, committing a hate crime and participating in paramilitary training. The group was allegedly preparing for a “race war” and planning an attack (which did not happen) on a May Day rally in Melbourne, Fla.

Wade Michael Page, 40, a member of the Northern Hammerskins who played in several white power bands, opens fire with a 9 mm handgun at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and wounding three, including a police officer, before killing himself.