The MCC Foundation and The Office of Inclusion and Engagement Presents the
2019 MCC Chancellor's Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Luncheon.
KC Downtown Marriott, Count Basie Ballroom
11:30 am to 1:00 pm Friday, January 18, 2019
Kevin Willmott co-wrote the movie "BlacKkKlansman" with director Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz. The film, which won the Grand Prix award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, tells the real-life story of how black police officer Ron Stallworth infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. Stallworth and a white officer monitored Klan activity during a seven-month investigation.
Willmott, a professor of film and media studies at the University of Kansas, also wrote the play "Becoming Martin." Its focus is 15-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. and his experiences as a student at Morehouse College. "Becoming Martin" had its world premiere this fall at Kansas City's Coterie Theatre, which is celebrating its 40th season.
He has worked as a peace and civil rights activist, fighting for the rights of the poor, creating two Catholic Worker shelters for the homeless, and forcing the integration of several longstanding segregated institutions.
Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas, and received a B.A. in drama from Marymount College in Salina, Kansas. He earned his M.F.A. in dramatic writing at New York University.
Ron Stallworth wrote the memoir "Black Klansman: Race, Hate and the Investigation of a Lifetime." The book recounts how Stallworth, the first black detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s. It details how he, with the help of a white officer, fooled local Klan organizers and Klan Grand Wizard David Duke as they monitored the group’s activity.
The book, first published in 2014, was made into a film directed by Spike Lee, "BlacKkKlansman," released in August 2018. Lee co-wrote the comedy-drama with filmmaker, playwright and University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott and two others.
Stallworth was born in Chicago and raised in El Paso, Texas. His 32-year law enforcement career included serving on the Colorado Springs Police Department and as an investigator for the Utah Department of Public Safety. He is now retired.