By the morning of August 12, 2017, the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., was the largest public gathering of American white supremacists in a generation. By that afternoon, a neo-Nazi had murdered 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer.
FRONTLINE and ProPublica have followed the rise of domestic extremism in the United States from Charlottesville through the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. During that period, the context of extremist violence has changed, according to reporting for the new documentary American Insurrection.
“We’ve seen a rising tide of attacks by far-right extremists in recent years,” Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, told FRONTLINE. “The threat is coming from a host of ideologies, from white supremacists to incels, to everything in between. Unfortunately, the attacks are becoming both more frequent and deadly.”