As Scott has pointed out, the Southern Poverty Law Center is misnamed in the same kind of way the Holy Roman Empire was. The SPLC, a vicious left-wing attack machine, is neither poor nor devoted to law, though it is based in Alabama and may be a “center” of sorts.
Professor Swain, though not a “center,” knows plenty about southern poverty. She was born in Bedford, Virginia, a rural town that is said to have lost more residents per capita in the Normandy landings than any other American community.
According to her Wikipedia entry, Swain grew up in a shack without running water. She and her eleven siblings shared two beds. She did not have shoes and thus missed school whenever it snowed. She did not attend high school, dropping out in ninth grade.
When her mother and abusive stepfather moved the family to Roanoke, Swain appealed to a judge to be transferred to a foster home. When her appeal was denied, she lived with her grandmother in a trailer park.
Intimately familiar with the south and with poverty, Swain also knows about the law, having earned a master’s degree from Yale Law School. This was the culmination of an education that begin with a GED, and was followed by an associate degree from Virginia Western Community College; a B.A. in criminal justice from Roanoke College; a master’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech; and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Swain went on to become a professor at leading universities and the author of several books. One was cited by Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor. Two dealt with the topic of white nationalism.
There is an obvious disconnect when an African-American from the south rises from extreme poverty to glittering scholarly success, only to be branded an “apologist for white supremacists” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Before leveling such a charge against anyone, the SPLC better have the goods, and this applies with extra force in the case of Carol Swain.
The SPLC doesn’t have them on Swain, as her Wall Street Journal piece shows. All it has is a hard-left ideology, a willingness to smear those with whom it disagrees, and lots of money.
Oh, and let’s not forget that it also benefits from a mainstream media that, to a considerable degree, shares the first two attributes.