Blacks now lead Southern Poverty Law Center

Bryan Fair, Southern , chairman of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Following a tumultuous change in leadership, including the firing of its co-founder and the resignation of its president, the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations, has two African Americans leading the Montgomery, Alabama-based organization.

Bryan Fair, Thomas E. Skinner Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law, is SPLC’s board chairman, and Karen Baynes-Dunning is the organization’s interim president and CEO, succeeding Richard Cohen, who resigned in May in the wake of a scandal precipitated by the ouster of Morris Dees, SPLC’s co-founder.

Baynes-Dunning, who will remain in her position until SPLC completes a nationwide search for a permanent president and CEO, is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley Law School. She also served as a juvenile court judge and as a visiting professor at Emory University School of Law and as an associate professor at the University of Alabama.

Karen Baynes-Dunning, SPLC’s interim president and CEO

After serving for 15 years as president and CEO, Cohen resigned in May. SPLC fired Dees in March.
In a front-page article published in SPLC Report, the organization’s newspaper, Fair said the past few months have been challenging, but he expects the organization to become stronger.



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