The Anti-Defamation League was founded just before one of the most notorious anti-Semitic hate crimes in American history: the lynching of Atlanta Jewish businessman Leo Frank in Marietta, Georgia. Some of the murderers were law enforcement officials and prominent citizens, but no one was ever indicted for the murder.
One measure of how far we've come since then is the recent prosecution of six individuals for a series of racially motivated assaults against African Americans, including the murder of James Craig Anderson, in Jackson, Mississippi—a state with a tragic history of racial violence. After coordinated state and federal investigations, in 2012 these crimes led to hate crime charges under provisions of the new federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).
That law is a direct result of ADL's leadership. To address hate violence, the League crafted model hate crime legislation in 1981. Laws similar to it have now been enacted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, and by the federal government. For more than 13 years, the League led a broad coalition of groups to enact the HCPA, a crucial update of federal law, which was signed by the president in 2009.
Because of ADL, law enforcement officials and civic leaders now understand the nature and magnitude of hate violence—and, more importantly, have the tools to prosecute crimes motivated by hate to the full extent of the law.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing."
— from Edmund Burke
See how far we've come in the last century–and how far we have yet to go–by reading ADL’s 2012 Annual Report celebrating our Centennial anniversary.Anti-Semitism Bigotry Bullying Religious Freedom Extremism Israel Law Enforcement and Security Holocaust Education Interfaith Return to Annual Report