contributors on the East and West Coasts, and they gave bigrnbueks.” But Dees soon found that if you start watching thernKlan, the Klan might start watching back. In 1983, Klansmenrnfirebombed the Center’s offices in Montgomery, an attack thatrnhelped bring in even bigger bucks.rnBy 1994, Dees was reported to be hauling in a personal salarrnof $136,000 a year, but even liberals who supported his causesrnwere starting to wonder. In the same year they began to noticernthat, for all his fulminations against “white racism,” Dees’ Centerrnemployed no black attorneys and that only one of its eightrndepartment managers was black. The Montgomery Advertiserrnreported that since the Center’s opening in 1971 it had hired 14rnlawyers, only two of whom were black, and both left the organizationrnunhappy. One of the former black lawyers, ChristinernLee, a Harvard Law School alumna who interned at the Centerrnin 1989, told the Birmingham News in 1994, “I would definitelyrnsay that there was not a single black emplovee with whom Irnspoke who was happy to be working there.” Dennis Sweet, alsorna former black staff attornev for the Center, said, “overall blacksrnwere treated in a patronizing manner” at the offices. Othersrnreported hearing racial slurs and epithets used there.rnRichard Cohen, the SPLC’s legal director, responded to suchrnclaims by saying that the Center did indeed have two black directorsrnon its board and that 14 percent of its legal staff hasrnbeen black. Dees himself was perhaps less eager to placaternthose who were suggesting that the czar of antiracism was himselfrnless than egalitarian. “We don’t have black slots and whiternslots,” Dees told the Birmingham News. “Probably the mostrndiscriminated people in America today are white men when itrncomes to jobs because there are more of those who had morerneducation opportunities and who the test scores show are scoringrnbetter and on paper look more qualified. That’s why yournhave so many reverse discrimination eases around.”rnBut even aside from his own views of blacks, Dees remains arncontroversial figure even on the left. Not only has MillardrnFarmer challenged his good faith, along with former employeesrnwho insinuate racial bias, but so have civil rights workers inrnother organizations. “He’s a fraud who has milked a lot of veryrnwonderful, well-intentioned people,” Stephen Bright told USArnToday in 1996. “If it’s got headlines, Morris is there.” In 1994,rnDees was instrumental in establishing a $700,000 Civil RightsrnMemorial outside his offices in Montgomery, but when ciilrnrights veteran Ralph Abernathy showed up at the dedicationrnceremonies. Dees seized him by the arm, told him he wasn’trnwelcome, and ordered him to get off his property. Abernathy’srnautobiography, which recounted the irregular sexual life ofrnMartin Luther King, Jr., had excited controversy among civilrnrights supporters, and Dees released a statement afterward sayingrnthat Abernathy’s attempt to put himself on the stage at therndedication ceremonies was “a ploy . . . a cheap effort to bringrnhimself back into the fold of the civil rights community afterrnselling out its most honored hero.”rnWhatever the truth about the authenticity of his commitmentrnto racial equality, there is no doubt that MorrisrnDees has made himself more than a nuisance to white racialistsrnof the extreme right. In 1987, he sued the United Klans ofrnAmerica on behalf of a black lynching victim and won $7 millionrnin damages. The Montgomery Advertiser series on Dees reportedrnthat only $52,000 of the money won actually went to thernmother of the Klan’s victim; the rest wound up in the Center’srnbank accounts. His legal actions against white racialist TomrnMetzger in 1990 virtually ruined Metzger and put his WhiternAryan Resistance out of business by winning $12.5 million inrndamages, and Dees has launched similar lawsuits against otherrnactivists. The late Robert Matthews, the neo-Nazi who foundedrnthe secret terrorist group called “The Order” in the 1980’srnand who carried out the murder of Colorado radio host AlanrnBerg and the armed robberies of several armored cars, reportedlyrnplaced Dees’ name next on the hit list after Berg’s; Matthews,rnwho was killed in a gunfight with federal agents in 1984, wantedrnto kidnap Dees and skin him alive—a sentiment that may bernshared, for different reasons, by some of Dees’ former emploveesrnand business associates.rnBut there’s no doubt also that Dees’ “research” is of questionablernvalue. Not only does he seem to specialize in scarernsagas like the ones told in “Two Years After,” but he is often justrnplain wrong. Last year during the black church burning h}stcria.rnDees’ Klanwatch listed fixe acts of arson against blackrnchurches in Kentucky in 1990, but it never mentioned that thernsupposedly “white racist” fires were in fact set by a black man.rnDees was one of the first to make capital out of the supposedrnrash of church burnings. At a news conference in Washingtonrnin April 1996, Dees announced that “Those [black] churchesrnthat have been burned in the South were certainly burned byrnracists.” In fact, as subsequent investigations by the AssociatedrnPress, L’SA Today, and other mainstream newspapers showed,rnthere was no wave of church arsons at black churches by whiternracists. The AP reported that “A review of six years of federal,rnstate and local data bv the Associated Press found that arsonsrnare up—at both black and white churches—^but with only randomrnlinks to racism. Insurance industry officials say this year’srntoll is within the range of what the would normally expect.”rnFewer than 20 of the 73 fires at black churches that the APrncounted since 1995 can be blamed on “racism.” Five statesrnhave suffered more fires at white churches than at black churches,rnand in only 12 to 18 fires is there any evidence of racial motivations.rnIn nine fires at black churches, black suspects havernbeen named, while in six other church burnings, white churchesrnwere also targets of the arsonists. L’SA Today found that 64rnblack churches in Southern states had been burned since JanuaryrnI, 1995. Of these, eight were torched by black suspectsrnand one by a racially harmonious trio of two whites and onernblack. Only three cases involved whites who might have hadrnracial motives. In Morris Dees’ own state of Alabama, the staternFire Marshal investigated all 15 fires at black churches in hisrnstate since 1990 and found no evidence of racial motives in anyrnof them. Eariier this year a federal task force appointed by PresidentrnClinton to investigate the church burnings concludedrnthat white racists were responsible for such acts of arson in “on-rn1)’ a handful of cases.”rnYet whatever the value of Morris Dees’ scholarship and whateverrnmotivates him to sponsor it, he continues to bamboozlernmuch of the media. Reporters eager for a sensational story canrnalways rely on the friendly experts at the SPLC to feed themrnuncorroborated details about the numberless white legionsrnlurking in the cow pastures and munching sandwiches down atrntheir klavern meetings, all the while plotting more “biochemicalrnterrorism,” more church burnings, and more bombings ofrnfederal buildings. One who fell for the “Two Years After” talernwas Abe Rosenthal of the New York Times, who, in a column ofrnJune 20, 1997, titled “The Traitor Movement,” swallowed thernwhole whale. Rosenthal regurgitated the “Two Years After” accountrnalmost verbatim, including the “858 groups” operatingrn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn