Local News

This Tennessee City Has Been Named the Most Racist City in the State

From the days of slavery and the Civil War to the current battles for social justice and civil rights, Tennessee has a long and turbulent past characterized by racism, segregation, and violence. Based on a number of factors, a recent analysis by the financial aid website WalletHub identified Estill Springs, a small community in Franklin County with just 2,000 residents, as the city in Tennessee with the greatest levels of racism.

Determining the Ranking

WalletHub evaluated the degrees of sinfulness—which include excesses, vice, greed, lust, vanity, and laziness—of states and cities using a variety of data sources and indicators. WalletHub took into account the per capita rates of violent crimes, sexual offenses, hate groups, hate crime events, mass shootings, and elder abuse complaints when calculating wrath and hatred.

Tennessee held the top ranking for rage and hatred despite being the sixth most sinful state overall. With 2,021 persons, Estill Springs has the largest per capita concentration of Klaverns (local KKK chapters) in the state at 0.0005 Klaverns, or one for every 2,000 citizens.

KKK History in Estill Springs

Throughout American history, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a hate group dedicated to white supremacist ideology, has existed in several incarnations. The first Klavern was founded in Estill Springs in 1921. In this town, the Klan planned marches, cross-burnings, and other violent and intimidating activities directed towards the black community and other minorities.

Current Racial Climate in Estill Springs

The Klan is still active in some areas of Tennessee, even if its power has decreased. In Tennessee, there were 37 active hate groups according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2018. Racism still exists in Estill Springs despite the fact that these hate groups do not call it home. The racial makeup of the town in 2019 was 2.6% Black, 1.4% Hispanic or Latino, 0.6% Asian, and 94.6% White. The median household income was $40,625 and the poverty rate was 16.9%.

Racial tensions in Estill Springs have been brought to light by contentious instances like the one in 2017 in which a local teacher posted a racist Facebook comment and the one in 2018 in which a principal accused a black student of discriminating because of his dreadlocks. 2019 saw disturbances in the community after a White Lives Matter gathering held at a nearby church.


Estill Springs has a reputation as one of the most hostile locations in the state, even if it may not be the only or worst racist city in Tennessee due to its historical and present ties to the KKK as well as incidents of racism and discrimination. There is a polarized and heated atmosphere since attempts to question and alter this status quo have been greeted with opposition. For the town to develop and advance, these problems must be acknowledged and resolved.


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