On Monday, Director Spike Lee took the stage at the Dolby Theater to accept his first Oscar for the movie BlacKkKlansman which is set in Colorado Springs.
The movie is based on the true story of the first black Colorado Springs Detective Ron Stallworth who infiltrated the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.
In the late 1970s, the klan was expanding and Stallworth recalls sitting in his office seeing an ad for the KKK. After sending a letter to their post office he got a call a few weeks later.
“‘Hi this is Ken, why do you want to join the Klan?” said Stallworth as he recounted the call. “I said, ‘my sister is dating a black man, and every time he puts his filthy black hands on her pure white skin I cringe.’ He said ‘you’re just the kind of guy we want.'”
Over the next seven months, he gathered intelligence on the klan, thwarted cross burnings and gained the trust of the KKK leaders, including the Grand Wizard David Duke.
When it came to meetings, a white policeman posed as Stallworth.
“They had to at all time believe they were communicating with one person. Many of them are not the brightest bulbs in the socket. There’s a lot of wanting. There’s one person on the phone and a totally different person in person,” said Stallworth.
Not man officers on the force knew about his undercover work, but those who did were in disbelief. Those who doubted him couldn’t refute the fact that he had a KKK membership card in his wallet, something that he still keeps with him.
Stallworth chronicled his story in a book called the Black Klansman that was then adapted by Spike Lee and fellow writers Kevin Willmott, Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz.