Some may have thought Spike Lee was crazy to believe a black man could actually join the ranks of the KKK, let alone make a movie about it.
Well as it turns out Spike Lee can double as a historian because indeed a black man did join the ranks of the white supremacy group. Not only did he join but he flourished enough to where the group would eventually ask him to lead the chapter.
Ron Stallworth says his journey as a klansman began in 1979 when he served as an intelligence officer with the Colorado Springs Police Department. He stumbled upon a classified ad that said Ku Klux Klan. He would later respond to the ad via phone where a man informed him of starting a Colorado Springs Chapter.
Stallworth convinced the man he was white and hated blacks, Jews, Mexicans, and Asians. Taking it further, he told the man he thought the white man got an unfair deal in America. Sweetening his bid, he also told the man his sister was dating a black man and he wanted to end the nonsense.
This was music to the man’s ears and he agreed to meet in person. That when Stallworth’s friendship with a white undercover officer came in handy. Wired for sound, the undercover agent would be Stallworth’s physical cover while he did most of the talking over the phone.
Over an eight to nine-month period he successfully infiltrated the KKK. He even followed up his application with the infamous David Duke, who leads New Orleans’ Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Duke explained there had been a delay in the processing of the application but he would personally rectify the situation. They would continue speaking over a period of time.
In one of their conversations, Stallworth boldly asks Duke if he feared an undercover cop or a black man posing as a white man could infiltrate the organization.
Duke maintained he could always tell when he was talking to a n*****. With confidence, Duke says he knew Stallworth was white because of the way he spoke.
“You talk like a very smart, intellectual white man, and I can tell by the way you pronounce certain words, said Duke. When asked to elaborate he said, blacks tend to pronounce the word ARE, he said they pronounce it AR-RA. And he said, “I could tell by listening to you that you’re not black because you do not pronounce that word in that manner.”
With this in mind, Stallworth had his Klan certificate of membership signed by David Duke. He framed it and hung it in his office.
Reflecting on what has changed in the KKK, Stallworth had this to say, “Let me put it this way, it hasn’t changed. To me, race is the single most divisive factor affecting American society. It’s an issue that we are afraid of, that we shy away from; and quite frankly, it amuses me that we are so sensitive to the issue.”
Clearly, Spike saw the value in this unique moment in history.