Founded in 1971, the Center is a non-profit organization located in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to securing civil rights, eradicating intolerance and its attendant violence. Through its three-fold work of education, investigation and litigation, it is heralded for its work in promoting justice for all people.
TEACHING TOLERANCE, founded in 1991, is an innovative program designed to provide teachers with practical classroom materials that promote techniques for building interracial and intercultural understanding. Bi-annually, the award-winning magazine, Teaching Tolerance is distributed free to over 400,000 educators. Additionally, video and teaching aids are made available free to any school who asks and are entitled: America's Civil Rights Movement, The Shadow of Hate, Starting Small and A Place at the Table, scheduled for a late 1999 release. The TEACHING TOLERANCE project has earned two Oscar nominations and one Academy Award. Prominent educational associations, including the NEA and the President's Initiative on Race, have honored the program as "one of the most effective."
The Intelligence Project conducts the Center's investigative work. Created in 1981, Klanwatch investigates and reports on white supremacist activities and hate crimes. In 1994 Militia Task Force was formed to track antigovernment extremists and armed private militias. Intelligence Report is their quarterly publication available to law enforcement agencies in all 50 states, the FBI and US Justice Department.
The Legal team handles pioneering lawsuits on behalf of victims of injustice, some taking years to complete. With a proven track record in monitoring extremist groups, the Center is considered an authority by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and American Bar Association. The Center has gained national acclaim for its indefatigable work to hold hate groups accountable for their actions.
In 1987, Sara Bullard joined the Southern Poverty Law Center as a member of its Klanwatch project. With ten years of previous experience as a newspaper journalist in Ft. Lauderdale, Baltimore and Boston, Ms. Bullard had written investigative and feature stories on issues related to: social services, employment and housing discrimination, medicine, civil rights, and politics. At Klanwatch, Ms. Bullard conducted research and wrote reports on white supremacist activities in the US.
When the Center opened its Civil Rights Memorial in 1989, Ms. Bullard researched historical records about those who were killed during the Civil Rights Movement and compiled those stories in a book for young adults: Free at Last- A History of the Civil Rights Movement and Those Who Died in the Struggle. It was this book that became the first element of the award-winning TEACHING TOLERANCE project of the Center.
As co-founder of the project, Sara edited and published "Teaching Tolerance," a feature magazine which profiles experiences of educators who are working to promote diversity and social justice. It is distributed free twice a year to nearly half a million teachers. As the projects first Director, Sara wrote a second book: Teaching Tolerance: Raising Open-Minded Empathetic Children. Sara has earned numerous journalism honors as well as the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, the First Annual Family Life Award and a Parents Choice Book Award.
Sara Bullard, currently a freelance writer in New York, is working on a novel.