A fast read. Truth is stranger than fiction. Along the way Stallworth shares thoughts about complex racial issues.
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.
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...
Author's true account of how he became Colorado Spring's first black detective and his infiltration of the Klu Klux Klan. Fascinating reading.
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.
“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.
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.
Riveting movie based on this true story.
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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