Skip to main content Accessibility

SPLC History: 1990s

1990 – The SPLC wins a $12.5 million judgment against Tom and John Metzger and their hate group, White Aryan Resistance, for their role in the murder of Ethiopian student Mulugeta Seraw by racist skinheads in Portland, Ore.

1991 – Teaching Tolerance, a program to provide free classroom materials on tolerance and diversity to teachers, is launched. A year later, Teaching Tolerance releases its first teaching kit, America’s Civil Rights Movement. The accompanying documentary film, A Time for Justice, wins a 1995 Academy Award in the short documentary category.

1991 – The SPLC brings dramatic changes to the way child welfare authorities provide for children with special mental health needs with the settlement of R.C. v. Fuller

1993 – The Confederate battle flag is removed from atop the Alabama Capitol after the SPLC wins Holmes v. Hunt. The flag had flown atop the building since Gov. George Wallace raised it in 1963 as a symbol of defiance to integration efforts.

1994 – The SPLC begins investigating white supremacist activity within the anti-government militia movement. Six months before the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, Morris Dees writes a letter warning U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno of the danger posed by militias.

1994 – The SPLC wins a $1 million default judgment against the Church of the Creator in the 1991 slaying of a black sailor, Harold Mansfield, by one of the group’s reverends.

1995 – Indigent dialysis patients in Alabama receive state-funded transportation to medical care following an SPLC lawsuit brought on behalf of these patients who sometimes went without food to afford transportation. Although the case, Harris v. James, was ultimately overturned on appeal, Alabama Medicaid recipients continue to receive transportation.

1996 – Alabama prisons are forced to abandon the use of brutal prisoner chain gangs following an SPLC lawsuit, Austin v. James.

1998 – A South Carolina jury awards the largest judgment ever against a hate group in Macedonia v. Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The Christian Knights, its state leader and four other Klansmen are ordered to pay $37.8 million (later reduced to $21.5 million) for conspiring to burn Macedonia Baptist Church, an African-American church.

1998 – A homeless African-American teenager is enrolled in an Alabama high school after being denied admission to a school because of her homeless status and steered away from another because of her race. The SPLC lawsuit, Penny Doe v. Richardson, led to a state policy that complied with federal law and ensured that local schools live up to their responsibility to educate homeless children.

1999 – Klansman Wallace Weicherding and New Order leader Dennis McGiffen are sent to prison for conspiracy in connection with a plot to kill Morris Dees by bombing the SPLC office.