African American History Black History Month

Feb 13: Ron Stallworth

By Cory Kumpf

“Stallworth proved that the ideology of the Ku Klux Klan was based in nothingness.”

Ron Stallworth (pictured here in 1975) was the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department. Image source:

Ron Stallworth was the first black cop in Colorado Springs. He gained this distinction in 1972. This, however, is not his major claim to fame. While this is important as it shows the fact that Colorado was desegregating, there is one mission in his time as a police officer that is possibly the most important. 6 years after he got his chance to become a police officer, he got his big break to be an undercover detective. After becoming a detective, he found an ad for the Ku Klux Klan in the newspaper, and chose to answer it. Over the phone, he then proceeded to possibly be the first African-American to join the Ku Klux Klan. He used this as an in to keep track of the activity of the Klan in Colorado Springs, in order to prevent any future violence from the Klan. One issue was the fact that as a black man, he could not meet with the Klan in person, so he had a white officer pretend to be him. The plan worked, and the Klan was fooled. They could not figure out that he and the white officer were two different people, and Ron Stallworth was even able to meet David Duke as his bodyguard. One issue is that the real Ron and David Duke had been talking over the phone for months, and the fake Ron Stallworth would be in the same room, but Duke was none the wiser, and even let the real Ron Stallworth get a picture with him. Ron Stallworth was a great detective, and was able to put aside the obvious issues of going along with the Ku Klux Klan in order to keep the mission and protect innocent people.

I think that this story is significant, interesting, and important for black history and for Black History Month. The Ku Klux Klan have waged wars on African Americans, and for a black police officer to be able to infiltrate and fool them into thinking that he is a “White Aryan” like the rest of them is hilarious. It shows that the concept of a superior race and that you could tell what race someone is just over the phone is a farce, and has no basis on anything. By being able to engage on the phone with David Duke, and for him to not be able to tell who you are when you meet face-to-face simply because he was expecting a white person instead of a black police officer shows that Ron proved that the ideology of the Ku Klux Klan was based in nothingness.

Ron Stallworth relates to Back History Month is the struggle to be accepted and treated as a equal citizen of the United States. He had to get into the police force through a cadet program and fought through barriers to become the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs. This also relates to Black History Month because of the reason of trying to remember what life was like before current events. Understanding the past and the situations surrounding it plays a large role in history as a whole, and specifically African American history. Understanding the time that Ron was a detective is important, and it can better show the importance of his actions and sacrifices.