Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime (2014) is a memoir and crime thriller by Ron Stallworth, the first black detective of the Colorado Springs Police Department. Stallworth infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970’s and posed as a member for nine months. Stallworth’s story was the basis for the Academy Award winning film BlacKkKlansman, released in 2018. Stallworth’s memoir was re-published in 2018 as Black Klansman; this summary is for the 2018 edition published by Flatiron Books.
After an introduction to his undercover work with the KKK, Stallworth recalls having first aspired to be a P.E. teacher, before becoming a cadet with the Colorado Springs Police Department in order to pay for college. Only a few years after becoming a police officer, Stallworth went undercover to attend a Black Panther Party speech presented by its leader, Stokely Carmichael. This was the beginning of Stallworth’s undercover work, leading to him becoming an undercover detective in the Intelligence Unit.
In 1978, the KKK was on the rise in America. Detective Stallworth comes across a classified ad in a local paper asking for people interested in joining the group to contact a P.O. box. Stallworth feigns interest, using his real name and posing as a white man. Weeks later, Stallworth’s office phone rings, and he is asked by a KKK member if he wants to join their “cause” and become a Klansman. Stallworth's plan is to converse with the KKK over the phone, while Chuck, his partner, is recruited to be his white counterpart for face-to-face interactions.
While Chuck meets with the Colorado Springs KKK chapter as...
(The entire section is 539 words.)