Kimberly A. Probolus F'21

Kimberly A. Probolus

Southern Poverty Law Center

Leading Edge Fellowships 2021
Southern Poverty Law Center
Appointed to the Southern Poverty Law Center for the project "The Third Edition of Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy"
PhD, American Studies, The George Washington University

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. Headquartered in Montgomery, AL, it has offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. For five decades, the SPLC has won landmark cases that brought systemic reforms in the Deep South. It has toppled remnants of Jim Crow segregation and destroyed violent white supremacist groups; shattered barriers to equality for women, vulnerable children, the LGBT community and the disabled; protected migrant workers and immigrants from abuse; ensured the humane treatment of prisoners and reformed juvenile justice practices; and more. Through its Intelligence Project, the SPLC is the premier U.S. non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists, including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, and antigovernment militias. In the wake of the Charleston Church Massacre, the SPLC compiled a wide-reaching and publicly accessible database of Confederate monuments and symbols on public land: Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy. The goal of the 2016 report was to dispel the false narrative that Confederate monuments are symbols of heritage—when they are symbols of white supremacy—and educate the American public on the history of these monuments many of which were erected after Reconstruction, during the rise of Jim Crow, as part of a campaign to whitewash the history of the Confederacy. Revised in 2018, Whose Heritage? has established the SPLC as the leading expert on Confederate symbols. The report has been cited by virtually every national media outlet, and extensively by federal lawmakers and activists. And despite COVID-19 highlighting the disproportionate health and economic outcomes for people of color because of structural racism, internal SPLC polling shows that a majority of Americans have yet to fully grapple with this legacy or believe that these correlations exist. The Leading Edge Fellow will join Intelligence Project’s team as a Research Analyst to help SPLC develop a Third Edition of Whose Heritage? in 2021 that dramatically expands the data, dives deeper into analysis, and better positions the report to be used for affirmative public education and advocacy campaigns. The fellow will use historical research, new data, and personal narratives to revise Whose Heritage?; collaborate with the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project on creating related multigenerational education materials; and collaborate with the SPLC Policy Department to advocate for the removal of Confederate symbols on public grounds.