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Ron Stallworth was born June 18, 1953, in Chicago, Illinois. While he was still a child, his mother made an effort to move away from the gangs and poverty of Chicago’s Southside. The Stallworths then settled in El Paso, Texas. There, young Ron was exposed to racism and bigotry by his schoolmates. That exposure to racism would aid him in his career years later.
In 1972, The Stallworths moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. There, Stallworth began pursuing a career in law enforcement. His goal was to eventually work his way up the ladder and become an undercover cop. He achieved his goal when the founder of the Black Power Movement, Stokely Carmichael, gave a speech at a nightclub. Stallworth attended the speech undercover.
After attending Carmichael’s speech as an undercover agent, Stallworth was then placed in the intelligence section of his department. Performing his duty, he saw an ad in the local newspaper where David Duke, Grand Wizard of the Colorado chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, was attempting to recruit new klansmen. Stallworth jumped into action.
Shortly after seeing the ad in 1979, Stallworth called the phone number and posed as a White man. He stated that he hated anyone who wasn’t White and that he wanted to do something about the suffering that the White race had endured. In order to convince the Klansman on the other end of the line that he was White, he recited all of the prejudice things he heard while growing up.
Stallworth agreed to meet with a KKK representative at a local bar. In order to conceal his true identity, he recruited a fellow officer who could pose as the White Ron Stallworth. By working with one another to sound and speak the same, they were able to infiltrate the Colorado chapter of the KKK.
Stallworth eventually received an official certificate signed by David Duke and a klan card, solidifying his membership with the KKK. After the investigation into the klan closed, he kept quiet about his efforts to infiltrate the terrorist group. He then transferred to the Utah Department of Public Safety. He retired in 2005 after serving for 20 years.
In 2006, Stallworth detailed his work regarding the infiltration of the KKK. He exposed several men in the military who were affiliated with the klan and they were either transferred from their stations or discharged. In 2014, he wrote his autobiography which outlined his experience, titled ‘Black Klansman.’
On August 10, 2018, the Spike Lee Joint ‘BlacKkKlansman’ was released. The stars of the film, John David Washington, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace help tell Stallworth’s story on the big screen. Ron Stallworth continues to enjoy his retirement alongside his wife Patsy Terrazas-Stallworth.