Southern Poverty Law Center Dismisses Founder

Tim Pierce, Wiki Commons

Morris Dees

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery-based civil rights watch dog group, dismissed its founder Morris Dees with little detail on what led to the ouster.

In a statement Thursday from its President Richard Cohen, the SPLC said:

“Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated. As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world. When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.”

Dees founded the SPLC in 1971 with lawyer Joseph Levin Jr. and civil rights activist Julian Bond.Over the years Dees led legal battles against hate crimes, intolerance and discrimination.

SPLC says it is taking steps to conduct a comprehensive assessment of its internal climate and workplace practices “to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve – one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected.”

“The SPLC is deeply committed to having a workplace that reflects the values it espouses – truth, justice, equity and inclusion, and we believe the steps we have taken today reaffirm that commitment.”

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