This County in Florida Has Been Named the Crime Capital of the Entire State


Florida has been acknowledged for its beautiful beaches, diversified culture, and tourist attractions. However, it is also home to some of the most bigoted and racist organizations in the country. According to a recent analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida has the second-highest number of recognized hate organizations in the United States, with 68 active groups in 2021.

These organizations include white supremacists, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, neo-Confederates, and black separatists. But which county in Florida has the most racist residents? What factors contribute to the prevalence of hate in the Sunshine State?

Callahan is the Most Racist County in Florida

One technique to assess a county’s historical racism is to tally the number of Klaverns, or local chapters, of the Ku Klux Klan that existed in the past. The KKK is one of America’s oldest and most prominent hate groups, having perpetrated violence and terror against black people, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and other minorities. The KKK has had three significant waves of activity: the first following the Civil War, the second in the 1920s, and the third in the 1950s and 1960s.

Using data from Saturday Night Science, a Virginia Commonwealth University initiative that mapped Klaverns by city from 1915 to 1940, we can find the cities and counties in Florida with the highest Klavern density per capita. DeLand had the most Klaverns, at three.

DeLand is the county seat of Volusia County, which has four Klaverns. Callahan, the city and county with the most Klaverns per capita, has one Klavern for every 1,250 inhabitants. Callahan is a tiny town in Nassau County, with two Klaverns.

Callahan is located in northeastern Florida, close to the Georgia border. According to the 2010 census, the population is around 1,500, with 86% white and 11% black. The town was created in 1861 and named after a Confederate soldier who died during the Civil War.

The community has a history of racial segregation and prejudice, as well as violence and intimidation from the KKK. In 1926, a mob of white men in Callahan lynched a black man called John Morine after accusing him of raping a white lady.

The lynching was observed by hundreds of people, including children, and was covered in newspapers across the country. During the 1920s and 1930s, the KKK burnt crosses disseminated pamphlets, and conducted demonstrations in Callahan and other areas of Nassau County.

Why Is Florida So Hateful?

Given Florida’s history and demographics, the emergence of hate organizations and racial beliefs should come as no surprise. Florida was a slave state before the Civil War and a Jim Crow state afterward, imposing racial segregation and persecution on black people until the 1960s.

During the second part of the twentieth century, Florida had a major inflow of immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, and other Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and other Asian countries.

Some native-born white citizens treated these newcomers with animosity and discrimination, believing that their culture, religion, and language endangered them. Florida also features a sizable community of retirees, veterans, and conservative Christians who hold traditionalist and nationalist views on race, immigration, and politics.

Florida’s location and environment contribute to the spread of hatred. Florida is a huge and diversified state that includes urban and rural areas, coastal and inland regions, and many cultural and economic zones. This causes fragmentation and isolation in some areas, making them feel estranged from the rest of the state and country.

Florida is particularly vulnerable to natural catastrophes like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, which can create stress, trauma, and hardship for many residents. These factors can make certain people more receptive to hate organizations’ propaganda and recruiting, which provide them with a feeling of identity, belonging, and safety.

How to Combat Hatred in Florida

Hatred is not inevitable nor irrevocable. There are several strategies for combating hatred and promoting tolerance, diversity, and inclusion in Florida and abroad. Here are some ways that can help:

  • Educating individuals about the history and impact of racism and hate organizations, as well as dispelling their myths and lies.
  • Supporting victims and targets of hate crimes and incidents, as well as reporting them to law enforcement and the media.
  • Challenge and confront hate speech and behaviors, both online and offline, and hold those responsible accountable.
  • Creating coalitions and alliances amongst diverse groups and communities, as well as honoring their traditions and accomplishments.
  • Engaging in communication and interaction with people from various origins, views, and viewpoints to establish common ground and mutual respect.

Hate is an issue for everyone, regardless of color, religion, nationality, gender, or orientation. It is also an issue that everyone can tackle by working together and taking individual responsibility. Working together, we can make Florida a more welcoming and pleasant environment for everybody.


According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida has the second-highest number of hate groups in the United States. Callahan in Nassau County, which has a history of Klan action, becomes a center of attention. Florida’s past of racial segregation and KKK violence, as well as its changing population, large influx of immigrants, and weak natural conditions, all make hate more common.

To stop hatred, we need to teach, help victims, stand up to hate speech, build relationships, and encourage interactions between people from different backgrounds so that Florida is a more welcoming place for everyone.

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