Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a branch of the Jewish service organization B’nai B’rith, is committed to fighting racial prejudice and bigotry. Through an extensive program of publication, public speaking, and lobbying, it has developed considerable political influence. Concerned especially with First Amendment issues, the Anti-Defamation League has been especially active in monitoring the activities of hate groups and militias.
A series of pogroms in Russia (1903–06) led Americanized German Jews to form the American Jewish Committee (1906), dedicated to protecting Jewish civil rights around the world. The concept was directly tested in the United States itself in 1913 when Leo Frank, a Jewish factory superintendent, was convicted of an Atlanta, Georgia, murder, kidnapped from prison, and lynched. He was later exonerated of the crime. Within a month, midwestern Jews founded the Anti-Defamation League in order to counter racially based claims emanating from the controversy. The ADL played an especially large cultural role from the time of its founding until the end of World War II, a period when overt anti-Semitism was common in the United States.