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SPLC Featured in Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel Programs

A Discovery Channel program hosted by veteran journalist Ted Koppel examines an historic Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit that destroyed one of the nation's most violent Klan groups.

A Discovery Channel program hosted by veteran journalist Ted Koppel examines an historic Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit that destroyed one of the nation's most violent Klan groups.

"Koppel on Discovery: The Last Lynching" examines the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Ala. The program, a one-hour special on race in America, features interviews with SPLC founder Morris Dees and Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, who was an SPLC intern during the case.

The Discovery Channel program premieres on Monday, Oct. 13 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).

"The Michael Donald case is a reminder that despite the racial progress we've made in this country, there are still people capable of committing despicable acts of violence against others solely because of the color of their skin," Dees said.

Donald was on his way to a store when two members of the United Klans of America abducted the black youth, beat him, cut his throat and hung his body from a tree on a residential street. The Klansmen lynched the 19-year-old at random after an interracial jury failed to convict another black man for killing a white police officer.

The SPLC sued the United Klans for its role in the murder and won a $7 million verdict. It marked the end of the UKA, the same group whose members beat the Freedom Riders in 1961, murdered civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo in 1965 and bombed Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963. Because of the verdict, the group was forced to turn over its headquarters to Donald's mother, Beulah Mae Donald.

Dees is also featured with Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok in a National Geographic Channel program, "KKK: Inside American Terror." The program examines the state of "America's oldest terrorist group" and how it is being reenergized by the immigration debate. The National Geographic Channel program premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). The show will air again on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. (ET/PT).

The Discovery Channel program was recently reviewed by The New York Times.