A legend is returning to Salt Lake Community College on Feb. 26.
His name is Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer who once infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. He might sound familiar because he used to teach law enforcement courses at Salt Lake Community College, but lately he has gained newfound attention in the movie industry.
“BlaKkKlansman” was screened for free at the Jordan, South City and Taylorsville Redwood campuses. Since it was a rated R movie, it wasn’t an event that could be showed publicly, so the showings were closed off due to the explicit content.
About 150 students turned up for the screenings, and the overall mood was excitement complemented with positive feedback for the story.
Mason Bancroft, a psychology major, says the film speaks to modern society with a strong message.
“The ending of the movie stood out to me the most because it shows real life examples that are currently happening,” he says of the screening at the Jordan campus. “There are still assumptions of racism that are present in 2019.”
The movie highlights how Stallworth, infiltrator of the KKK, and other African-Americans were treated in the 1970s.
Stallworth spent seven months undercover, along with Flip Zimmerman, to uncover the KKK’s operations in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Later, he documented the experience in the book, “Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime.”
Wyatt Bringhurst, a business administration major, remarks on how admirable Stallworth and Zimmerman’s partnership was. He mentions how it was a rocky relationship at first, but then it created a compatible camaraderie.
“BlacKkKlansman” is currently nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The awards show will air live Feb. 24, two days before Stallworth speaks at SLCC.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Stallworth praised the power of the film, which was released last year and directed by Spike Lee.
“Spike wove the story around my story,” Stallworth notes. “He did a good job putting the story together and connecting the historical thread from the confederacy to Charlottesville, David Duke and Donald Trump.”
Stallworth will share his story in the Grand Theatre on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. The event is free. Tickets are required and can be obtained through the Grand website.