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SJCA: BlacKkKlansman

Saratoga Jewish Community Arts, with a generous grant from the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York and sponsored by Temple Sinai of Saratoga Springs, brings to you on May 1 at 7:00 PM the next in its social justice series, a Zoom panel discussion of BlacKkKlansman, produced and co-written by Spike Lee. BlacKkKlansman won top awards at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival for its riveting and compelling retelling of a little-known chapter of black history.

A black Colorado Springs police officer, the first black detective on the force, Ron Stallworth, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan for seven months in 1978 so deeply that he was asked to lead a local chapter. David Duke, KKK grand wizard, never figured out that Stallworth was black even after talking to him regularly on the phone, even though he claimed he was able to detect a pure Aryan by the way they pronounced certain words and phrases. It was not until 2006, when he read a story which went viral, written by Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, that he found out that Stallworth was black.

When Stallworth had to meet Duke in ’78, he sent Flip Zimmerman, white and Jewish, to impersonate him. Duke later claimed Stallworth’s infiltration claim was a big lie because there were no arrests or trials. However, the point of the investigation was to gather information, which it did, including a tip off to police of planned cross burnings, revealing the identity of two Klansmen holding high-level posts within North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), disrupting a plot to bomb two gay bars in Denver, and picking up that the Klan not only included military personnel, but made an ongoing strong recruitment pitch to the armed forces. “Spike Lee, who never cared about what anyone thought of his politics,” says Phyllis Wang, Coordinator of SJCA, “is bold in speaking truth to power and dedicated the film to Heather Heyer who lost her life in the Charlotteville confrontation with an epitaph of ‘rest in Power’ under her picture in the closing of the film.”

Please join us on May 1, at 7:00 PM, for our Zoom panel discussion of the film. Registration is required at sjca.sjcf@gmail.com BlacKkKlansman is streaming for free to subscribers of Direct TV, Spectrum on Demand, and FUBO. It’s available to rent for $3.99 from Apple, Amazon, and many other streaming services.