How the extraordinary real life of Ron Stallworth inspired Blackkklansman – iNews

Posted By on August 2, 2020

Blackkklansman, Spike Lees hit film starring John Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace is now available to watch on Netflix.

The film tells the story of the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department, who sets out to infiltrate and expose the members of the local Ku Klux Klan group, while also being placed in the security detail for K.K.K Grand Wizard David Duke when he visits the area.

Lee also powerfully juxtaposed his 1970s-set racial drama with real-life footage from the 2017 riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists and neo-Nazis protested the removal of Confederate monuments throughout the South, where anti-racist counter-protesters were attacked.

The film was released in 2018 but is now available to watch on Netflix.

When director Spike Lee first heard about Ron Stallwort an African-American detective who infiltrated the Colorado Springs K.K.K. in the late 1970s he didnt believe the story was true.

The detective had thought he may one day need solid evidence of his K.K.K infiltration, and brought a Polaroid camera to his in person meeting with Duke and asked for a group photo.

He wrote in his memoir that otherwise no one would ever believe that I was pulling this investigation off.

However, other aspects of the Blackkklansman movie were included purely for dramatic effect.

The investigation actually took place between 1978 and 1979, although the film is set in 1972 and Duke did not become Grand Wizard until 1974.

In real life Stallworth was sworn in as a Colorado Springs police officer on his 21st birthday in 1974, and was the first African-American to graduate from the ranks of the Police Cadet Program.

He was also interested in the undercover narcotics investigators, and his first undercover assignment was to attend a speech given by Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael who advised him, as is correctly portrayed in the film, to arm yourself and get ready because the revolution is coming.

Nevertheless, the Blackkklansman character Patrice, played by Laura Harrier, was invented just for the film, and the detective said for the most part he didnt actually share details of the investigation with his girlfriend.

Additionally, in the film Stallworth asks a Jewish detective named Flip Zimmerman, played by Driver, to impersonate Stallworth in all face-to-face scenarios.

But in real life, Stallworth recruited an undercover narcotics officer named Chuck to play him, who was not Jewish.

The film correctly shows the first meeting between Drivers character and the K.K.K happening outside a convenience store.

However, in real life it was not just Stallworth and Chuck who played the role of Ron; several times, neither Stallworth nor Chuck were available to take a call from the local K.K.K. chapter so a different officer played Stallworth over the phone.

The detective stressed that there were never any members who were vaguely suspicious of him unlike in the film, there were no lie-detector tests, homemade bombs or bricks thrown through a window. These were added by the screenwriters to add tension.

Stallworth eventually joined forces with the local director of the Anti-Defamation League, to trade information on the K.K.K. and keep them apprised of his undercover efforts.

As is depicted in the movie, his investigation also uncovered two K.K.K. members who were NORAD personnel with top-security-clearance-level status.

The way the film ended with a bomb was not true to reality either, but it did make for an impactful watch.

The detective said witnessing his undercover experience adapted by Lee for screen was very surreal almost like an out-of-body experience [that is] sometimes overwhelming.

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How the extraordinary real life of Ron Stallworth inspired Blackkklansman - iNews

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