Black Klansman

Black Klansman

Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of A Lifetime

Book - 2018
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Baker & Taylor
Relates how African American detective Ron Stallworth went undercover to investigate the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs in 1978, describing how he disrupted Klan activities and exposed white supremacists in the military during the months-long investigation.

McMillan Palgrave

The #1 New York Times Bestseller!

The extraordinary true story and basis for the Academy Award winning film BlacKkKlansman, written and directed by Spike Lee, produced by Jordan Peele, and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver.

When detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. He figures he’ll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community.

A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he’d never have to answer, “Would you like to join our cause?” This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Its Grand Wizard, David Duke, has made a name for himself, appearing on talk shows, and major magazine interviews preaching a “kinder” Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage, and to restore a nation to its former glory.

Ron answers the caller’s question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious, and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron recruits his partner Chuck to play the "white" Ron Stallworth, while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends David Duke himself.

Black Klansman is an amazing true story that reads like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.

& Taylor

A decorated African-American law enforcement veteran traces his remarkable undercover infiltration of the KKK and how his white partner and he posed as one person, rose in the ranks and sabotaged Klan activities before the investigation's tragic end. Movie tie-in.

Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2018
Edition: First Flatiron Books edition
ISBN: 9781250299048
Branch Call Number: 322.42097 STA 2018-11
Characteristics: 191 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jun 12, 2020

I watched BlacKKKlansman a few years ago when it came out but recently found out it was also a book written by Ron Stallworth himself. I knew the movie was probably flourished quite a bit (and it definitely is) and wanted to read the actual account. Black Klansman reads like a fiction crime novel except it’s all true. I highly recommend it as a look into the structure and values of the KKK in the 70s. The afterword mentions all the ties to today’s politics but you don’t need it to see the correlations. The KKK business card especially sounds an awful lot like #AllLivesMatter arguments today. Although I will say the one thing that did surprise me was finding out that David Duke, the Grand Wizard of the KKK in the 70s was at the Charlottesville, VA Unite the Right rally. That happened 3 years ago in 2017. This is not just history this is happening today. Right now.

Jun 14, 2019

A fast read. Truth is stranger than fiction. Along the way Stallworth shares thoughts about complex racial issues.

IndyPL_RyanD Jun 04, 2019

This book is a very interesting and quick memoir to read in which Ron Stallworth recounts his experiences as the first African American to join the Colorado Springs Police Department, and his infiltration of the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. Stallworth discusses how his infiltration of the Klan as an African American helped contradict the Klan’s absurd beliefs about the inferiority of African Americans. Stallworth also has stories about tricking former Grand Wizard of the Klan David Duke. His gathering of intelligence helped prevent cross burnings in the Colorado Springs area, disrupt Klan rallies in other states, and exposed Klan membership in the U.S. military.

Lovestoread5 Feb 27, 2019

I read this for the Adult Reading Challenge. It is a quick read, interesting facts and information about a black man becoming a KKK member who cuckholds the entire KKK. It reads more like a report. I hope the movie is better. (PS, it wasn't)... :/ sigh...

multcolib_susannel Jan 14, 2019

Author's true account of how he became Colorado Spring's first black detective and his infiltration of the Klu Klux Klan. Fascinating reading.

Jan 07, 2019

I saw the movie first; BlacKKKlansman directed by Spike Lee and wanted to read the book. It is a quick read (only 188 pages). Ron Stallworth was the first black undercover detective on the Colorado Springs, CO police force. He joined the local KKK by phone and worked with his white colleagues who represented him in person. He was only 22 years old and he makes comments such as, “it was as if Dennis the Menace created a hate group.” He was often laughing at some of the local KKKs actions. It got to a point when he was speaking to David Duke (Grand Wizard of the KKK) on the phone weekly and he was able to alert police to KKK activities in other cities around the U.S. (planned marches, cross burnings, etc.) It gets to a point when it seems like everyone knew about his undercover operations. Near the end, local black activists want to protest the justice system for incarcerating a black teenager who murdered a white person and was convicted as an adult. Stallworth finds out the black youth just wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. Stallworth would not support the black community in their protest. He was a police officer first and foremost. He encounters a local KKK member who was a fireman who tells him of giving a black person mouth to mouth recitation telling him his job as a fireman was not affected by his personal racist beliefs. A murky, complex world of hate and racism and at the end of the day, we are all humans with our strengths and weaknesses (good and bad). Stallworth makes his story easy to read, but somewhat difficult to comprehend the underlying racist convictions and beliefs.

PimaLib_NormS Nov 29, 2018

“Black Klansman” by Ron Stallworth is surprisingly funny. I do not usually find the Ku Klux Klan humorous; however, for an African-American police detective to scam the Klan into making him an actual card-carrying member of their vile, racist organization, well, I can’t help but see the funny in that. Stallworth’s experience could be an episode of a really bad sitcom. He originally contacted the Klan by mailing in a response to an ad in the newspaper, and then he talked to several Klansmen on the phone, including the Grand Wizard himself, David Duke. When it came time to meet the local Klan recruiters in person, he had a white colleague pretend to be him. Apparently, the not-very-bright Klansman did not notice any variation in syntax, or cadence, or pitch, or accent, or any of the factors that make one human’s voice different from another, because they sent him a membership card. Adding to the absurdity of it all, on a visit to Colorado Springs by the aforementioned Wizard, Stallworth was assigned by CSPD to provide security for Duke. In the interactions between them that day, Duke was clueless that he had spoken to his African-American bodyguard before. Multiple times. It all seems so cartoonishly stupid. I do not mean to minimize the danger that Stallworth put himself in, because the Klan’s history of unspeakably horrible atrocities is well-known. But, for all of their self-declared Aryan superiority, having been spectacularly fooled like this, maybe the racist Klan members should rethink that whole Aryan superiority thing.

Oct 15, 2018

I really like Mr. Stallworth's memoir. He is one of those unseen heros. I grew up in Colorado and the revelations he shared in his book were like wow. I am glad he was there doing the work.

debwalker Aug 13, 2018

Riveting movie based on this true story.

PimaLib_TeneciaP Jul 17, 2018

Picture this - Ron Stallworth. He is the first Black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department and somehow he manages to infiltrate the KKK. No, this is not a skit from The Chappelle Show. This actually happened!

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