On Feb. 15, 2001 the Drury University convocation featured Morris Dees, a vigorous and effective civil rights attorney. Dees covered a variety of issues including a new online tolerance initiative.
Dees is a co-founder and chief trial attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which uses education and litigation to combat white supremacist, neo-Nazi and other hate groups, and to fight for the rights of poor crime victims. Dees' record of success is long and impressive, including a multi-million-dollar victory against the leader of the Aryan Nations in 2000.
Dees' visit to Drury was unfortunately well-timed. In the weeks before, Springfield's Jewish cemetery was vandalized, some headstones spray-painted with anti-semitic symbols. In a spontaneous response, members of several Springfield churches arrived to help clean the damage.
Image courtesy Southern Poverty Law Center
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