When the Ku Klux Klan was expanding in Colorado in the 1970s, Ron Stallworth went undercover to infiltrate the group. He cast himself as a bigot, and joined a local KKK chapter despite being an African-American.
Stallworth, who is now retired from law enforcement and is an instructor of criminal justice at Salt Lake Community College, has chronicled the story in his new book, Black Klansman.
He was an investigator for the Colorado Springs Police Department in 1979 when he answered a newspaper ad placed by a new KKK group looking for new members, The New York Daily News reported.
A few days later, Stallworth received a call from the local recruiter asking him to join the Klan. Stallworth told him he was white and hated minority races.
The group made him a member and voted him the chapter’s leader after only one year.
“So they took a vote, they took a unanimous vote and they wanted Ron Stallworth to become leader of the Ku Klux Klan chapter because he was loyal and a dedicated Klansman,” he said.
“I filled out a letter inquiring about this ad, and I signed it Ron Stallsworth. I should have put down my undercover name,” he said, as written on globeslcc.com.
It became trickier when it came time for Stallworth to meet his recruiter in person.
“We agreed to meet in about a week. After I hung up the phone, I told the sergeant, ‘I obviously can’t meet this guy. I need somebody to pose as me,” he said.
It was revealed the recruiter was a soldier in the Army, stationed in Fort Carson, CO.
In a 2006 interview with NBC News, Stallworth told Dan Abrams: “I gave my physical description, because I knew a good buddy of mine working the narcotics division for the department matched my physical description. And what I did was I gave this officer all of my identification, minus anything with a picture, credit card, library card, this type of thing, and told him of my conversation on the phone, told him what I wanted to accomplish with a face-to-face meeting, and wired him for sound and sent him to the location.”
Stallworth had phone conversations with Grand Wizard David Duke, who later served in congress from Louisiana once or twice a week. During one conversation, he asked Duke, “Aren’t you afraid of being infiltrated by the police or maybe some black person trying to get information on the group?” No, Duke said — he did not worry about that.
“I can always tell when I’m talking to a black man because they pronounce words and letters in a certain way,” Duke said.
[Image via nydailynews.com]