Interim leader appointed at Southern Poverty Law Center

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Southern Poverty Law Center has named an interim president after its founder was fired and its president resigned.

The Alabama-based civil rights group announced Tuesday that Karen Baynes-Dunning is interim president. Baynes-Dunning, a former judge, served on the SPLC board since 2017.

She is the first African-American woman to lead the group, which at times has been criticized for having mostly white leadership.

The SPLC last month announced it had dismissed its founder, prominent civil rights attorney Morris Dees, for unspecified conduct. Longtime president Richard Cohen also announced he was stepping down.

The SPLC says it’s bringing in an outside group to review its workplace practices.

Baynes-Dunning says the SPLC will remain a leader at tackling discrimination, combatting hate and extremism and promoting anti-bias curriculum in public schools.

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