Southern Poverty Law Center identifies 26 hate groups in Missouri

Monday, March 12, 2012 | 12:04 p.m. CDT; updated 10:43 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 12, 2012

COLUMBIA — The number of hate groups active in America grew to 1,018 in 2011, up from 1,002 the year before, according to a report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center on Thursday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center attributes the increase largely to three major factors: the poor economy, the continued growth of the Hispanic population and the prospect of America re-electing a black president. 

The report has identified 26 hate groups currently active in Missouri. Sixteen states have more hate groups than Missouri. California has the most, with 84 active groups, followed by Georgia with 65. Michigan and Arkansas also have 26 active hate groups.

Boone County has no active hate groups, according to the report.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also tracks “hate incidents” that range from racist graffiti to assault and murder. Missouri had four of these incidents in 2011, the most serious of which included an arson in Independence. Columbia was the location of one of these incidents, when an MU student spray-painted racist graffiti outside of Hatch Hall on Feb. 12, 2011. Benjamin Elliott was charged with the crime.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has fought hate groups since its formation in 1971 in Montgomery, Ala. The organization created a program called Klanwatch in 1981 that began to monitor Ku Klux Klan groups across the nation. In 1998 the program was renamed the Intelligence Project and was expanded to monitor all active hate groups in America.

Active hate groups in Missouri

White nationalist groups

White nationalist groups espouse white supremacy and advocate the separation of races. They often focus on a belief that minority races are inferior. They oppose immigration as well as cultural diversity. White nationalist groups can range from those that use violent tactics and racial slurs to those that present themselves as nonviolent and use more controlled language.

  • American Third Position (Ridgedale)
  • Conservative Citizens Foundation Inc. (St. Louis)
  • Council of Conservative Citizens (St. Louis)
  • Council of Conservative Citizens (St. Louis)
  • South Africa Project

Neo-Nazi groups

A main tenet of neo-Nazi groups is a hatred for Jews and a loyalty to the political ideology of Nazi Germany. These groups believe that Jews are engaged in a mass conspiracy that controls governments, financial institutions and the media. Neo-Nazi groups also champion hate for racial minorities as well as gay and lesbian individuals and sometimes Christians.

  • American Aryan Reich (St. Louis)
  • Aryan Nations 88 (Hawk Point)
  • Creativity Movement (Kansas City)
  • National Socialist Movement (Springfield)

Ku Klux Klan groups

Since its formation in 1865, the Ku Klux Klan has been one of the most infamous hate groups in America. The group’s traditional aim was to intimidate and terrorize black Americans, but its members have also attacked immigrants, Jews, gays and lesbians, Catholics and others. The Klan boasted a national membership of more than 4 million people by the mid-1920s, and wielded considerable political power in some states. Today the Klan is only a shell of its former self, comprised of about 8,000 individuals nationally, split among dozens of warring groups that bear various versions of the Ku Klux Klan name.     

  • True Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Park Hills)
  • True Invisible Empire Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Potosi)
  • United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
  • United Realms of America Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Shelbina)

Racist skinhead groups

A youth subculture that arose in the 1980s, racist skinhead groups are characterized by a hate of immigrants, racial minorities, gays and lesbians, and Jews. Members are often identifiable by their clean-shaven heads giving the movement the name skinheads. Skinheads employ everything from extreme violence to vandalism to propagate their message of hate and intimidation. Skinhead groups have a considerable presence in prisons and juvenile detention facilities nationwide.           

  • Aryan Terror Brigade
  • Blood and Honour America Division (Lake St. Louis)
  • Supreme White Alliance
  • Volksfront (Bridgeton)

Christian Identity groups

This is a broad category of loosely affiliated groups that all practice a form of Christianity with racially charged theology centered on the belief that white Europeans are God’s chosen people. The Southern Poverty Law Center said, “Of all the movements that have appeared among white racists in America, Christian Identity is surely one of the strangest.”

  • Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations (Granby)
  • Faith Baptist Church and Ministry (Houston)
  • Reformed Church of Israel (Schell City)
  • Watchmen Bible Study Group (Wappapello)

Black separatist groups

Black separatist organizations generally oppose racial assimilation and interracial marriages. These groups often advocate separation of races and even the creation of a separate autonomous nation for black people within America. One of the largest black separatist organizations is the Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan. 

  • Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ (Kansas City)
  • Nation of Islam (St. Louis)
  • Nation of Islam (Kansas City)

Neo-Confederate groups

Neo-Confederate is a term used to describe groups trying to advance a pro-Confederate revival in America. This movement is aggressively nativist and opposes immigration while advocating racial segregation. These groups are anti-homosexuality and promote traditional gender roles. Many neo-Confederate groups openly urge secession.

  • League of the South (West Plains)

General hate groups

This encompasses groups that have unique hateful doctrines and beliefs that are not easily categorized. Some of the groups are vendors that sell hate materials from various sectors.

  • Invictus Books (Wentzville)

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Matthew Akins March 12, 2012 | 3:14 p.m.

Awesome article! The SPLC also releases a list of "Patriot Groups" which I also find interesting.

While the purpose of the "Hate Groups" list is clear, the purpose of this list is less clear.

Obviously the hate groups list was started to monitor those groups' activity, being that many people feel they present a threat to a nation trying to put it's racist past behind it and move forward in unity.

My question is this: What made the SPLC start the patriot groups list, which it defines as a list of "anti-government" groups, but include groups such as the "Constitution Party"?

My knowledge of this party is cursory, so correct me if I'm wrong, but this doesn't seem to be an anti-government group, but one that supports a government more closely guided by the Constitution.

I think a story done on this list would be interesting, not just because of this issue, but also because while they report no hate groups in Columbia, they DO report three patriot groups here:

*America First Party of Missouri Imperial blood of patriots

*Don’t Tread on Me

*William Lewis Films(That's right. There's a Columbia-based film company on the list. Now you've figured out my agenda. LOL!)

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 12, 2012 | 3:37 p.m.

Matthew, I also recognize a few other groups under the Missouri listing. I guess that which they don't understand, they fear? I also find it interesting the SPLC recently (at least as far as I know) came out with a list of misogynist websites, for what purpose I couldn't really tell.

(Report Comment)
Ben Nadler March 12, 2012 | 4:12 p.m.

This is Ben Nadler, the reporter who wrote this story. I am aware of the Patriot Groups list as well and am working on a story about them. Since there are patriot groups listed in Columbia, we are going to do a more in-depth look at what is behind this movement. Look for a followup story in the coming weeks.

Thanks for your comments.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins March 12, 2012 | 4:13 p.m.

John: That sounds kind of like what it is. Their criteria seems very ambiguous, which lends credibility to that argument as well.

Also, do they plan on putting every pornography site ever made on the misogynist websites list? LOL

They actually might get a lot of traffic that way(not necessarily the traffic they're expecting but...)

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins March 12, 2012 | 4:40 p.m.

Ben: No problem! Thanks for listening.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 12, 2012 | 10:23 p.m.

"True Invisible Empire Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Potosi)"

I found that one interesting, and now I'm curious to see if these guys know where the name of their town came from, and what their opinion on the subject is/would be.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 12, 2012 | 11:25 p.m.


There are two major cities in Latin America with the name "Potosi" in them. You have referenced the one in Bolivia.

The other city is in Mexico, San Luis Potosi.

Both are well known in the mining industry. They are still mining useful minerals at both.

At the time of the Mexicn War it was popular to name towns and counties in the Midwest after battles fought in Mexico. For example the counties of Buena Vista and Cerro Gordo in Iowa, whose names look very strange on a state map along side counties with English names.

Perhaps "San Luis Potosi" was too long for the people and the post office. Rolla, Missouri, according to tradition, was meant to be "Raleigh," but neither townspeople nor engineering students could spell "Raleigh." Makes sense to me.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 12, 2012 | 11:47 p.m.

Ellis and "Raleigh":

Ummm....let's see.....ok, I got it: "i" before "e" except after....."L".

PS: I can't spell occurance, occurrance, ocurrence, occurrence, ocurance, occurrince.....ok, a "happening".

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 13, 2012 | 2:03 a.m.


The Wikipedia article specifically states that Potosi, MO was named after Potosi, Bolivia--and so is San Luis Potosi for that matter, heh.

I just brought that up because those KKK clowns probably wouldn't take too kindly to knowing that their hometown (to them Pahtoesee) is named after one of them South Mexican cities full of brown people (and Catholics). [speaking from their point of view, btw]

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 13, 2012 | 7:18 a.m.


Historical fact:

In Bolivia in Spanish colonial times the silver was mined by conscripted Native Americans.

There was a Spanish mint in Potosi, Bolivia where the sliver (or at least some of it) was minted into coins.

The coins were taken to a port and loaded onto ships bound for Spain.

Pirates in the Caribbean and what is now called Belize raided the Spanish galleons and sole some of the silver coins.

ADAM SMITH CAPITALISM AT ITS FINEST! (Do they teach that in Economics at MU?)

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 13, 2012 | 8:11 a.m.


According to Margot McMillen's book "A to Z Missouri: A Dictionary of Missouri Place Names" (Pebble Publishing, 1996) there are multiple stories as to how Rolla, Missouri got its name. I have already noted one, above.

My favorite goes as follows: "...there was a fight over the location of the town. The winners of the location battle let the losers pick the name, and the losers did the natural thing - they named it after the mangiest dog in town."

Let's see. "Rollo," is a masculine name, while "Rolla" would likely be feminine. So the mangiest dog in town may well have been a bitch.

Therefore (are you following this?), when we were stuck with the lousy "UMR" name our full campus name might have been translated as ""University of Missouri - Mangy Bitch." It has a genteel ring to it, doesn't it?

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 13, 2012 | 12:13 p.m.


I'm Bolivian. Granted, I've forgotten most of what I learned in school up to an including college, but yeah, I guess I'm still loosely familiar with the city's history. Also, most Bolivians would probably object to the term "conscripted," heh.

Unfortunately I never made my way to the National Mint in Potosi (or the city as a whole), but as a kid I probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway. I think I used to have actual nightmares about that creepy-as-hell face when I was a lot younger:

On a similar note, I wonder also if people in Bolivar, MO know whom the town is named after. The local high school's sports teams are even named "The Liberators" according to Wikipedia. <_<

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 13, 2012 | 2:35 p.m.

It's (Bolivar) not pronounced the same here.

You may have joined us after I first posted this, but I once worked briefly in Argentina (early 1970s). There's a large suburb of Buenos Aires called "Moron." That a totally legitimate Hispanic family name, and it's pronounced in Spanish to rhyme with "bone." Our factory was located in Moron, which might say something about me. It gets worse: a financial establishment in Argentina is called "Credito Moron." I told my Argentine associates that in America del Notre we have plenty of "credit morons."

One more: most everyone has heard of the VW Jetta. In Argentina, "jetta" is slang for "hangover."

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 13, 2012 | 3:49 p.m.

I've heard the pronunciation of BAHliver, MO, and to me it's almost nails on a chalkboard every time I hear it.

Slang in Spanish-speaking countries is indeed a tricky subject. As far as I've determined, it seems that every country has a different word for "straw," (i.e. drinking straws).

I always try to limit the amount of slang I use when talking to other Spanish-speakers, because it's not uncommon to come across words that are standard language in your country but hugely offensive in someone else's.

(Report Comment)
Debbie Lewis March 13, 2012 | 10:27 p.m.

Mr. Nadler, Please allow me to point out that the SPLC does NOT do their homework. They have on their list of "active patriot groups" 2 films, from IL, Camp FEMA, and from Columbia MO, Don't Tread On Me. They include a website, from Versailles MO, Take Back Washington. THEN, they include an independent film company, from Columbia MO, William Lewis Films.

I can assure you NONE of these are patriot groups. while I am at it, Camp FEMA was actually produced in Columbia MO, and Take Back Washington is a website maintained by William Lewis Films, which is certainly NOT in Versailles MO, but right here in Columbia, MO.

Mark Potok has never contacted us to talk about us, what we believe, what we do or our films. I contacted him once to let him know his facts were wrong. He did thank me for helping him with his facts, but that was it.

Please do that follow up article you are talking about, and contact us. My e-mail address is The SPLC may have been a worth while organization in the beginning, but they have since become "conspiracy theorists" grade A!

(Report Comment)
Debbie Lewis March 13, 2012 | 11:37 p.m.

I would also like to point out that there has been a huge shift in the connotation of the word "patriot." Because of "groups" like the SPLC, "patriot" is now a dirty word. Because of this, by labeling these "groups" as patriots, what are they hoping to accomplish? Maybe they are trying to affix the "wacko, nut job" label so that anyone who buys into it believes these groups are wacko nut jobs.

I might point out, at this time, the FBI Counter Intelligence program which sought to infiltrate, undermine, plant false stories and and even start pseudo movement groups run by the government. Check out Brian Glick's book, War At Home, in which he talks about the 4 main methods used by the counter intelligence program: Infiltration, Psychological Warfare, Harassment through the legal system, and Extralegal force or violence...While I may admit that a few of these groups might warrant looking into, most are just concerned people doing their jobs as dutiful citizens of the US. I say we have more to fear from men bent on trying to pigeon-hole truly patriotic people willing to ask questions of their government than most of the "groups" on their "list."

Still, I consider myself a true patriot, as does William Lewis. We will continue to ask questions, because it is our right and our duty to watch our government and ask questions.

(Report Comment)
Ben Nadler March 14, 2012 | 12:37 a.m.

This is Ben Nadler, the reporter who wrote this story. I am very interested in getting all perspectives surrounding the Patriot Groups list released by the SPLC and will be contacting the local groups listed as soon as possible.

Thanks for your comments.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 14, 2012 | 9:00 a.m.

So, the SPLC are Grade A conspiracy theorists (possibly planted by the FBI and run by the government), and the groups they're targeting are merely victims of said mass-scale, covert government smear campaign. Am I reading that correctly?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 14, 2012 | 10:48 a.m.

No, you didn't. Go read this:

and tell me if I shouldn't have been concerned about the Missouri Information Analysis Center (run by the state) telling law enforcement officers that support of my political party could be a sign I'm in a militia. The SPLC is no better when they make these broad-based accusations to gain attention.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt March 14, 2012 | 12:32 p.m.

I remember reading about that. My comment, though, was directed at the strange logic of using conspiracy theories to accuse someone else of being a conspiracy theorist.

"Go read this one book by this one guy. It's proof positive that Organization X is involved in Operation Y, a massive (trans)national undertaking that's been successfully kept secret from millions of people around the globe for years, until this one guy exposed them all in his one book."

The SPLC may well be doing all of this to gain attention and push an agenda, but blaming this on the FBI Counter-Intelligence Program and its well-honed infiltration/psychological-warfare techniques is kind of a stretch, don't you think?

In the absence of sufficient evidence, I'm a fan of Occam's razor: Sure, one COULD argue that the government is trying to spin public opinion against these groups by way of organizations such as the SPLC, but it could ALSO be the case that these guys are just liberals playing their part in the left-vs-right comedy show that is American politics in general.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 14, 2012 | 1:43 p.m.

I don't think that Debbie was saying the SPLC is controlled by the FBI, but that the FBI has performed some "stings" or other such operations to get "militias" and "patriots" arrested and that's been used to give peaceful citizens and organizations a bad name. We've heard of similar stories where the FBI says it has cracked a plot by a group of Islamic terrorists to bomb something, then it turns out later that the plot was mostly manufactured and put into place by an FBI informant or agent. That's what I assume Debbie is talking about when she mentioned FBI counter-intelligence, but I don't have any specifics there.

(Report Comment)
Ken Green March 18, 2012 | 5:07 p.m.

I don't think the average citizen is aware of the extent of these hate groups. Thanks for an informative article, Ben

(Report Comment)

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