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The Hate Project

The Hate Project

Just what does “hate” mean? How does it spread? How can intolerance be stopped?

Those questions and more are raised by “The Hate Project,” an art exhibition by BSC Art and Art History Professor Steve Cole that will debut at Birmingham-Southern College’s Durbin Gallery this fall. Timed to launch the same month as the 50th anniversary of the racist bombing at Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four young girls, the installation depicts the growing prevalence of intolerance and hate nationwide.

The installation maps the 1,007 hate groups currently active in the United States as identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, White Nationalists, Christian Identity, neo-Nazis, Anti-Gay, Racist Skinheads, and more are represented by 10-inch cast figurines arranged state-by-state on a 42-foot gallery floor.

The project was supported by a grant from the Associated Colleges of the South. As well as opening a community-wide dialogue about hate, it was designed to give BSC students an opportunity to help craft the piece and to get hands-on experience planning an exhibition, from organizing the gallery space to dealing with storing and shipping the work when it travels to other locations later in the year.

Along with Prof. Cole’s installation, there will be a panel lecture with Dr. Randall Law, BSC associate professor of history and Lecia Brooks, director of outreach for the Southern Poverty Law Center. That panel will be held Thursday, Sept. 12 on campus; Prof. Cole will also hold an artist lecture on Thursday, Sept. 26 during Common Hour (11 a.m.-12 p.m.) in the Norton Theatre.

“The Hate Project” is part of BSC’s commemoration this year of Birmingham’s pivotal role in the movement for and toward global human rights, “Forward, Ever Birmingham!”