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 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 – Drama.
In 1978, Ron 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, Ron helped sabotage cross burnings, expose white supremacists in the military, and combat domestic terrorism. Even more incredibly, Ron also befriended (and fooled) Grand Wizard David Duke. Later on, Ron led an undercover investigation into the anti-Klan protesters of the Progressive Labor Party.
Raised in El Paso, Texas, Ron 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, Ron 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.Download Bio
Black KlansmanA Memoir
When detective Ron 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 Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. Ron launches what is surely one of the most audacious and incredible undercover investigations in history. He recruits his partner Chuck 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. Black Klansman is an amazing true story that reads like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.
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.
Ron Stallworth presented at the NAACP Image Awards.
Spike Lee interviews Ron Stallworth on the production of BlackkKlnsman.
Vanity Fair comments on BlackkKlansman‘s six Oscar nominations.
The Washington Post interviews Ron Stallworth.
TIME features Ron Stallworth.
Read Bustle‘s feature on Ron.
El Paso Inc. profiles Ron Stallworth.
Read the Black Klansman review from The Philadelphia Tribune.
Read The Guardian‘s extended profile of Ron Stallworth.
The Daily Beast interviews Ron Stallworth on his story and the upcoming BlacKkKlansman movie.
POPSUGAR covers The Black Klansman story, from undercover operation to big-screen movie.
Read The Gazette’s feature on Ron Stallworth.
Listen to the BBC interview with Ron Stallworth.
Listen to the NPR interview with Ron Stallworth.
Colorado Public Radio interviews Ron Stallworth following the film’s six Oscar nominations.
Ron is featured in The New York Times Book Review’s “Inside the List” feature.
- Amanda Knief, Director, Lectures Program, Iowa State University