A few years ago a movie adaptation, BlackkKlansman, was released. I have yet to see it, but it definitely peaked my interest. When I saw the book it was based on on sale, I obviously needed to read it.
Ron Stallworth is the first Black police officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department. On a whim, he responds to a Klu Klux Klan classified ad the local paper and begins an undercover investigation of a lifetime.
The extraordinary true story and basis for the Academy Award winning film BlacKkKlansman, written and directed by Spike Lee.
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. 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 Ron 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.
Ron answers the caller’s question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious, and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron 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.
Black Klansman is Ron Stallworth’s memoir that primarily focuses on his infiltration and investigation of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). I am not generally one for memoirs, but this story was too good to pass up.
Black Klansman is written in a very factual manner with little fluff. It is straightforward and no nonsense. I am used to this as it is the same I use in my job as a civil servant. However, I understand that it may not be what a lot of people are used to reading and some may not enjoy it. I did not mind it. However, there were a couple short paragraphs or sections that were repeated nearly word for word. This always bugs me, but it only occurred once or twice.
Reading the rhetoric used by the Klan, it was very apparent and alarming the clear similarities between what the KKK used and what Trump and white supremacists say. I will not veer too far from the book in my review. But I do feel like this is a timely book and one that does focus on racism.
Still, the story is often times laugh out loud funny as a Black officer befriends and dupes David Duke and other KKK leaders. I do wish the story delved into more detail than it did, but I understand that this was written much after the fact.
Overall, I enjoyed and recommend Black Klansman𝘯. I am excited to watch the big screen adaptation, although I am sure a lot of liberties were taken with the story.
Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime
Nonfiction – Memoir
June 5, 2018