Former SPLC fundraiser raises questions

Morris Dees is the founder and driving force behind the Southern Poverty Law Center. I first became aware of him in my early twenties, after the fund-raising company for which I worked accepted the SPLC as a client. Morris Dees was sold to us as a champion of civil rights. I bought it. I was proud to work for them and I raised more money for them than I’d ever raised for any other client – until it came to my attention that they didn’t really need the money as much as I’d believed. [1]

In the years following I put the SPLC out of my mind completely. A little while ago, I started hearing the SPLC mentioned when opponents of men’s rights decide to smear AVfM as a hate group- one of the hate groups SPLC fundraisers use to sweet talk their way into to wallets of poor, elderly contributors and wealthy supporters alike. I love a scam case as much as the next gal so, with the help of a colleague, I hunkered down and did some digging.

I found that there are already so many articles and blog posts concerning the hypocritical nature of this organization that I almost didn’t bother to write this article at all – But my colleague managed to get her hands on a copy of Morris Dees divorce documents. One read through those forms left me wondering how, in this day of tabloids and shock television, Mr. Dees manages to maintain his knight-in-shining-armor image.

These documents read like the script of a Lifetime network movie. Morris is portrayed as a run-of-the-mill, evil male monster. There’s allegations of child molestation, spousal abuse and unconventional sexual behavior described in enough detail to upset most anyone. The document is so sensational that I hesitate to believe most of the details. The sole source of the information seems to be a very angry soon to be ex – spouse, who, considering the probable payoff, had every reason to lie. If the allegations brought against him by his ex wife are actually false and if Dees lost any money in this apparently very nasty divorce, it seems to me that he should be supporting men’s rights, rather than idly allowing the organization he founded to attack men’s rights activists. Call me old fashioned.

The only reason I mention these documents at all, and posted them along with the other sources[2], is because one of the milder events detailed makes an excellent analogy for what appears to be Mr. Dees’ approach to business.

The event occurred on July 3, 1978. Morris Dees met with both his wife and his mistress and asked each one to tell him how much she loved him. Upon hearing their statements he told them that he couldn’t live without either of them. Seeing that he meant to carry on with both of them, his wife forced him to choose. In the end he chose his wife but continued to sneak around with his mistress.

Analogy for what, you ask? Allow me to explain.

In many of the biographies about Morris Dees publicly available online, it is said that as a teen he was punished by his father for using a derogatory term in reference to a black man.[3] In his own autobiography Dees’ admits to having earned money doing legal work for the KKK in 1962.[4] The information surrounding the former incident of racially bigoted behavior suggests that Mr. Dees’ father taught him that being a bigot was wrong, but if that were the lesson learned would the latter have occurred?

I think that the lesson teenaged Morris Dees took from his father’s punishment was something more along the lines of; If you’re going to be a bigot you’d better not be obvious about it. On close inspection, the Southern Poverty law Center isn’t quite as concerned with the plight of black people as they’d have us believe.

Supporting this observation is an incident in 1986 when the SPLC’s entire legal staff quit in protest of Dees’ refusal to address any of the issues presenting real problems to the black community. Gloria Browne, a lawyer who quit a few years after the incident in 1986 criticized the SPLC for “cashing in on white guilt and black pain.” Former black employees complained that the Center was run like a plantation. [5]

All of this information is publicly available as the SPLC continues ride it’s reputation for fighting racism. Although their impact in civil rights is relatively small when compared to other civil rights charities, the SPLC’s income dwarfs those of its contemporaries. That fact has been pointed out several times.

Question: How do they do it?

Answer: Silence.

In 1995 the Montgomery Advertiser ran a series of articles examining the SPLC’s fund-raising tactics and vast wealth. The articles were nominated and became finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.[6] Those articles are now very well hidden if they are available at all. When confronted with his divorce documents, which he tried to have legally sealed, Dees simply refuses to respond. All criticisms of their financial workings are met with silence.

Remember that analogy I mentioned? Now consider the fact that the SPLC’s ‘work’ on the side of civil rights is supported by contributors -over two hundred million dollars to date[7], while Mr. Dees’ efforts of behalf of a Klan member brought him only what would amount to tens of thousands in today’s dollar value. Clearly the ‘Champion of Tolerance’ image loves him far more than that of bigoted Southerner.

When it comes to the criticisms and accusations directed at Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center, silence is just good business. After all it just isn’t wise for a man to argue with his mistress within earshot of his wife.

[1] http://salientsight.com/nurdydancing/the-southern-poverty-law-center/
[2] http://www.avoiceformen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2012/09/SPLC-Founder-Morris-Dees.pdf
[3] http://biography.yourdictionary.com/morris-s-dees-jr
[4] http://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/tag/klan/
[5] http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Southern_Poverty_Law_Center
[6] http://www.pulitzer.org/finalists/1995
[7] http://cdna.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/SPLC_Annual_Report_2011.pdf

~Special thanks to my friend I.M. Zed who managed to get the really interesting files from the hard to reach places~

About Natasha Douglas

Natasha is a blogger, vlogger, recreational bellydancer, a reader, rather tall and most recently a traitor to her gender. She is also a mother who understands that someday her son, who is presently a toddler will grow up, and have to survive in this world

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  • Roderick1268

    Fantastic work!

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

    Another AVfM home run from Nurdydancing.

  • http://shiningpearlsofsomething.blogspot.com Suz


  • Jay

    Ugh! I URGE YOU TO CHANGE YOUR LINKS AWAY FROM http://www.fpp.co.uk/docs/SPLC/Harpers_Morris_Dees_2000.html

    That is the website of David Irving, a convicted, notorious, Holocaust Denier.

    Not only should no one give Irving any respect, you are just begging for people to associate AVfM or horrible MRAs with holocaust denial.


    “David John Cawdell Irving (born 24 March 1938) is an English writer,[1] best known for his denial of the Holocaust, who specialises in the military and political history of World War II, with a focus on Nazi Germany. He is the author of 30 books on the subject, including The Destruction of Dresden (1963), Hitler’s War (1977), Uprising! (1981), Churchill’s War (1987), and Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich (1996).
    His work on Nazi Germany became controversial because of his sympathy for the Third Reich, antisemitism and racism. He has associated with far right and neo-Nazi causes, famously during his student days seconding British Union of Fascists founder Oswald Mosley in a University College London debate on immigration. He has been described as “the most skillful preacher of Holocaust denial in the world today”.[2]
    Irving’s reputation as an historian was widely discredited after he brought an unsuccessful libel case against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books.[3] The English court found that Irving was an active Holocaust denier, antisemite, and racist, who “associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism”,[4] and that he had “for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence”.[4][5]”

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/NurdyDancing?feature=mhee Nurdy Dancing

      done. that particular piece of information can be found in several places so he is not the sole source.

      • Jay

        Thank you so much, for responding and changing that link so quickly.

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com Dr. F

    There once was a slick called Dees,
    All covered in shit and pleas.
    He said to his wife,
    “Oh crap I’m in strife,
    From the write on the net Nurdy’s.”

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com Dr. F

    I am out of action today with a migraine but could not stop to thank you Nurdy.

    Thank you. This be gold in our hills here mate. :)

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

      Hope you feel better. If it helps, give Loy a thrashing. :)

  • Robert St. Estephe

    Morris Dees’ most famous quotation has to do with one of the greatest crime mysteries of American history, involving a huge mass murder, plus a huge number of “suicides,” one of which is still in the courts. The Dees quote you will find by searching for “Elohim City” with his name.

  • tallwheel

    In this context, it’s obvious why the SPLC targeted the MRM. Their business model requires that they actively seek out new hate groups in order to stay in business. They backpeddled on their accusations once they realized ‘the MRM as hate group’ wasn’t going to be as easy to sell to everyone as they had originally imagined.

    Good work Nurdy. Your background gives the perfect perspective to enlighten the MRM on what sort of corrupt organization (business) we’re dealing with here.

    • gwallan

      They backpeddled on their accusations once they realized ‘the MRM as hate group’ wasn’t going to be as easy to sell to everyone as they had originally imagined.

      SPLC would be wise to reconsider their trust in the individuals who convinced them of this.

  • Rper1959

    Brilliant investigative journalism Nurdy! One wonders how much of those millions of dollars raised has simply been diverted to feather Dees’s own nest. Would love to see a through audit of their financials.

  • Raven01

    Morris Dees, former KKK lawyer now heads a group calling US a hate group(and then recanting but, not as publicly as they accused)?
    Is he trying to play the serial axe-murderer that suddenly “found god”?

  • http://mrathunderinthehammer.blogspot.com/ Dannyboy

    Really enjoyed the article. Great job.
    “Morris and I…shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money,” recalls Dees’s business partner, a lawyer named Millard Fuller (not to be confused with Millard Farmer). “We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich.”
    Pretty much sums up morris’ motivation to label any group a hate group. It’s all about the Benjamin’s for him

  • Gamerp4

    Now next time some women craps about SPLC labelling MRM as a Hate Group i will simply direct them to this article.

    Fantastic and Totally Sherlock Holmes Style Reporting.

  • Primal

    Yow. Hope this hurts in all the right places. Looks like Nurdy can do a lot more than just Dance. Love the ironic nature of this post. Next time, I imagine Mr. Dees will be a lot more careful choose less dangerous Dancers to slime.

  • http://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/ rkeefe57

    Hi, Thanks for quoting my blog in the bibliography section of this post.

    The amount of contrary evidence against the SPLC is legendary and 99% of it comes from their own website.

    Couple of clarifications, the Montgomery Advertiser articles came out in Febuary 1994 and are far from being unavailable. Unfortunately, they are not yet available online, but they are definitely available from your local library’s Interlibrary Loan program.

    In most cases, the cost of these requests are free, but some libraries are forced to recoup costs and charge minimal fees. Just ask your local librarian for any articles from the Montgomery Advertiser from Dan Morse or Greg Jaffe from the second week of February, 1994. They will do the rest.

    For more information, visit my Watching the Watchdogs blog, (http://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/) or see our SPLC video guides on YouTube. These short videos explain exactly how the public relations experts at the SPLC separate the suckers from their hard earned cash.


    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

      Thanks for dropping in with the clarifications and additional info. Keep up the good work.

  • Kris

    SPLC in the news – “A federal court in Colorado has barred the Southern Poverty Law Center from reckless endangerment of a pro-family advocate.”


  • knotmott

    Hmm….if you want people to believe your writing, don’t use parts which are misleading. Specifically, the part about “working for the KKK” was clearly addressed in his own books and own words and predated when he had his “enlightenment”. In fact, it was a young black person who said something to him in the halls afterwards that started him on his journey – and then the book on Clarence Darrow which made him decide to give up tens of millions in income from his businesses and help people. Seriously, you lost all credibility. Only a fool would take your words on their initial meanings. This is just as relevant as someone attacking you by saying you go the bathroom in your pants, which you surely did at some time before you grew up. Read. Understand. Then make a point if you have one!

    • Martin Woo

      Who cares if he had an “enlightenment” He worked for the KKK
      He changed because the KKK broke up and Dees no longer could make money representing them.