History of Hate and Extremism in America: Collections

The History of Hate in America Collections provide a comprehensive study of a complicated and difficult aspect of American history. The study of racism and violence in the United States is necessary to fully understand and report on current events. With these collections, students and researchers can examine primary source materials that give insight into the history of hate groups, including why these hate groups formed; who might consider themselves to be part of a socially marginalized group; and what the political responses have been to these events.

From hate crimes to racism, anti-Semitism to white nationalist rallies, to continuous discrimination against immigrants, Americans have a past deeply rooted in fear, hate, and violence. And while these stories have shaped our country, it is also important to look at the reactions to hate and intolerance. A major part of the country's story has to do with the people and communities who work to oppose acts of hate, such as the Anti-Defamation League and nonprofit organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

These collections were developed to show students the full scope of the history of hate groups, and those who opposed them. 

  • The American Radicalism Collection

    Since 1970, the American Radicalism Collection at Michigan State University has been collecting ephemera on radical political groups across a range of extremist movements. This includes extremists involved in religion, race, gender, hate crimes, the environment, equal rights, and acts of hate in America. The collection covers four general categories, each with a different story: leftist politics and anti-war movements; religion and the radical Right; race, gender, and equal rights; and social, economic, and environmental movements in the United States. The collection also includes materials on such topics as white supremacy, survivalism, Holocaust denial, extremism, creationism, right-wing politics, white Christian identity, terrorists, violence, attacks, hate crimes, national reports, extremist groups, and anti-Catholicism from groups like the John Birch Society and the Black Panther Party. The materials represent a wide range of viewpoints, from the far-right to the far-left, on political, social, cultural, sexual, and economic issues in the country.

    The aggregation process did not end with reports from the late 1960s and 1970s. The American Radicalism Collection at Michigan State University also includes materials from the 1980s, the 1990s, and the beginning of the twenty-first century. In its totality, the American Radicalism Collection provides a non-idealized and minimally brokered story of social change concerns in the nation from 1970 to the present.

    This expansive collection offers researchers and students the opportunity to study, and compare, multiple fringe political movements in America as well as examine what impact they have had on society and communities in the present day.

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  • Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda

    The Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda from the John Hay Library at Brown University began as a collection of material gathered by Gordon Hall. After returning from World War II, Hall investigated hate groups in the United States for Friends of Democracy, an anti-totalitarian group. He built a substantial collection of propaganda materials, mainly focused on anti-integrationist, anti-Semitic, and racist groups, such as the American Fascist Union and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) organizations.

    The Hall-Hoag Collection is a treasure trove of primary source materials for academic researchers of modern American extremism. Extremist literature has always been difficult to find because its authors intend the material to be read by a limited number of true believers. Consequently, print runs tend to be small and erratic. It takes a dedicated effort to amass and organize collections of this type. Most of the extremist literature in this collection ranges from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s - the most heated days of the civil rights movement. Publications in this collection represent a cross-section of extremist opinion towards integration and civil rights activism, but it also contains materials on American anti-Semitism, Christian Identity theology, neo-Nazi groups, and white supremacy movements.

    This collection is the product of decades of collaboration between Gordon Hall and his research assistant, Grace Hoag. Hoag first worked with Hall as a volunteer and later as a collaborator. They were able to collect difficult-to-obtain materials from major American extremist organizations and groups from the mid-1940s until the early 1990s.

    Hall and Hoag gathered a representative sample of literature on American Extremism. In examining the organization of the Hall-Hoag materials, the groups that had a particularly significant impact will be discussed in some depth. Hall and Hoag divided their collection into the following categories: Anti-Integrationist Organizations; Anti-Jewish Racist Organizations; Hate Groups Extreme Right; and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Organizations. Each of these groups shared a belief in, and a commitment to, white supremacy.

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  • Searchlight Magazine

    Searchlight was founded in 1964 as an occasional newspaper publication, but from 1975 to present it has been published as a monthly magazine. Its primary purpose is to investigate and publish exposes on fascist, anti-Semitic, neo-nazi and racist groups operating both in Britain and abroad.

    The 62 Group, an anti-fascist coalition set up in 1962 in response to the resurgence of fascism  in Britain, appointed Gerry Gable to work with their intelligence operation. In 1964 he established a press agency to make the information that they were gathering available to the public in the form of the Searchlight newspaper, under the editorship of Reginald Freeson MP. It was relaunched as a monthly magazine in 1975 and continues to publish today.

    Coverage has included a number of British far-right groups, including the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18, and the English Defence League (EDL), as well as international fascist and racist organizations, such as the Norwegian Nazi Party and the Australian National Socialist Party. Searchlight’s network includes several anti-racist organizations from around the world and it has published many notable journalists, including Stieg Larsson, author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, whose magazine Expo is often considered Searchlight’s sister publication.

    Researchers interested in the evolution of far-right groups around the world in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century will find this publication indispensable for its coverage of a wide range of groups, individuals, and topics.

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