An Evening With Ron Stallworth, The 'Black Klansman'

Oct 3, 2018

If you've seen Spike Lee's new film, BlacKkKlansman, then you know Ron Stallworth. Stallworth was the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, and the film tells the story of his most improbable investigation.

In 1978, while working in the CSPD intelligence division, Stallworth infiltrated the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Over the course of several months, he disrupted cross-burnings, exposed active duty servicemembers involved in the Klan, and even spoke regularly by phone with KKK Grand Wizard, David Duke.

Stallworth, who now lives in El Paso, Texas, recently made a stop through Colorado Springs -- his first since the film was released in August. 91.5 KRCC's Jake Brownell was asked to help moderate a live interview with him on stage at Colorado College's Kathryn Mohrman Theater. 

Left to Right: Jake Brownell, Ron Stallworth, Dr. Paul Buckley, and Colorado College student John Henry Williams, who introduced the event.
Credit Jennifer Coombes / Colorado College

Brownell and co-moderater, Dr. Paul Buckley -- who directs the college's diversity and inclusion hub, The Butler Center -- spoke with Stallworth about his story and  how his life has changed since the film came out.

Stallworth also reflected on the political dimensions of his work and his thoughts on the current state of policing in America. 

Listen to the full interview in the player above.

In 2015, Jake Brownell was also part of a team that interviewed Stallworth for an episode of the podcast, Wish We Were Here. 

Colorado College is 91.5 KRCC's licensee.