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Ron Stallworth      

Retired Police Officer & Inspiration for "BlacKkKlansman"

Ron Stallworth is a law enforcement veteran and the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. He has worked undercover narcotics, vice, criminal intelligence, and organized crime beats in four states. His #1 New York Times bestselling book, "Black Klansman: A Memoir," is the basis for the major motion picture BlacKkKlansman, written and directed by Spike Lee and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver. The film received six nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor, and won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film also earned four nominations at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture in Drama.

In 1978, Stallworth worked undercover and infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan chapter in Colorado Springs. By recruiting his partner Chuck to play the "white" Ron Stallworth in person, while speaking as himself to Klan members over the phone, Stallworth helped sabotage cross burnings, expose white supremacists in the military, and combat domestic terrorism. Even more incredibly, he also befriended (and fooled) Grand Wizard David Duke. Later on, Stallworth led an undercover investigation into the anti-Klan protesters of the Progressive Labor Party.

Raised in El Paso, Texas, Stallworth received his B.A. in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College in 2007. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1998 Outstanding National Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award from the national Gang Crime Research Center. His media appearances include interviews with MSNBC, CNN, NPR, BBC, Vice magazine, Daily Mail, and more. In addition to "Black Klansman," Stallworth is also the author of "Bringing the Noise: Gangster-Reality Rap and the Dynamics of Black Social Revolution" and "Gangsta Code: The Sociological Implications of Gangster Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture."

Speech Topics

Race and Law Enforcement

Ron Stallworth was the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department. He overcame many obstacles, including prejudice from members of his own force and the difficulty of impersonating a KKK member. Stallworth offers insights on the intersections of race and law enforcement: how they have changed in some ways and stayed the same in others. Stallworth draws on both his own experiences and historical and current events.

Black Klansman: How Ron Stallworth Infiltrated the KKK

In 1978, when detective Ron Stallworth discovered a classified ad in the local paper recruiting for the Ku Klux Klan, he responded, using his real name while posing as a white man. He asked his partner Chuck to play the "white" Ron Stallworth for inperson meetings, while Stallworth himself conducted all phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotaged cross burnings, exposed white supremacists in the military, and even befriended and served on the security detail for David Duke. In this talk, Stallworth tells the story of his KKK infiltration, touching on his motivations, doubts, fears, and triumphs throughout the process.

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