The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded to ensure that the promises of the civil rights movement became a reality for all.
By the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had ushered in the promise of racial equality as new laws ended legal apartheid in the United States. But the new laws had not yet brought the fundamental changes needed in the South.
Blacks were still excluded from good jobs, decent housing, elective office, a quality education and a range of other opportunities. There were few places for the disenfranchised and the poor to turn for justice. Enthusiasm for the civil rights movement had waned and few lawyers in the South were willing to take controversial cases to test new civil rights laws.