Campus-wide read featuring Ron Stallworth’s “Black Klansman”
Salve Regina’s diversity and inclusion task force is inviting members of the University community to participate in its annual campus-wide read and book discussion, featuring Ron Stallworth’s memoir “Black Klansman.”
Co-hosted by the student organization Dialogue, the discussion will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, April 8 in the McKillop Library. Copies of the book are available in the library for those interested in participating.
Published in 2018, “Black Klansman” is the extraordinary true story of the black detective who goes undercover to investigate the Ku Klux Klan. The book was the basis for the Academy Award-winning film “BlacKkKlansman,” written and directed by Spike Lee.
When 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 KKK to contact a P.O. box, he 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 Stallworth 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.
Stallworth answers the caller’s question with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious and incredible undercover investigations in history. Stallworth recruits his partner 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.