The harshly honest and tattooed Frank Meeink openly shares his troubled neo-nazi past to anyone willing to listen to his off-color speaking or read his equally cuss-filled autobiography, An Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead. Meeink’s hate filled life, once wrought with destruction, violence and anger, has now transformed into being inspirational and encouraging. Frank’s story is important when learning the mindset and beginnings of hate groups across America. Frank respectfully uses his past to change the future.
Frank Meeink grew up in a troubled Philadelphia city, hard neighborhood and dysfunctional family. It seemed no one showed him a genuine loving emotion or shared a concern for his well-being. Most of his adolescent life, Frank was desperate for a feeling of being a part of a caring family. Unfortunately, he was able to fulfill this need in the skinhead community. His introduction into this world of hate was at the impressionable age of 13. Thanks to his street smarts and his take-charge personality, Frank quickly rose in ranks in the skinhead society. Several years later, while running from the police for a variety of violent charges, he found himself in Illinois, living under an alias. Frank still managed to become an icon in the neo-nazi community by recruiting new members and preaching his hate filled ideologies on his public broadcasted television show, The Third Reich.
After one of Frank’s violent nights where he kidnapped and tortured a rival skinhead, he found himself in prison. Forced to live among the likes of the very people he preached hate about, he ironically found his best and most reliable friends were black inmates. This was the beginning of Frank questioning is beliefs. Unfortunately, because his roots were sewn so deeply into the American Nazism community, he had a hard time escaping the group and their ways.
After his release from Prison, Frank was desperate to find work, he was desperate enough to work for a Jewish man delivering furniture. Spending a lot of time with his boss, Frank began stripping away the preaching of his skinhead family. His boss showed compassion, respect and broke every stereotype brainwashed into Frank’s mind. Soon he began to feel ashamed of his way of thinking. Although Frank removed himself from the hate-filled skinhead group, he still internally battled his violent past.
While watching the country panic as the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy unfolded in 1995, Frank felt a huge sense of disgust with himself and his old way of thinking. He states he once wanted to be that guy, Timothy McVeigh. Frank believes if given the opportunity and the resources he would have done just as McVeigh did in Oklahoma. This realization tortured Frank and he felt the need to confess and unload his past. This is exactly what Frank did while sitting in a windowless room, behind a desk at the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once being released Frank, finally felt a sense of relief. With the sins off his heart, he began a new fresh life.
Today Meeink is not only an inspiration through his public speaking and autobiography; he also has created a program for inner-city kids called Harmony through Hockey. Frank believes his path of destruction began as a child, looking for someone to accept him and love him. Through programs like Harmony through Hockey, children like him can turn their negative energy into something positive and encouraging. As Frank states during his speech, “we hate what we don’t understand”, he is on a mission to tell people how alike we all are simply by our humanity.