R. Derek Black Was the Heir Apparent to America’s White Nationalist Movement. Then He Went to New College

From Sarasota Magazine.com   January 2, 2019

A new book tells the remarkable story of how New College students came together to transform Black’s values and life.

When R. Derek Black walked onto Sarasota’s New College of Florida campus in 2010, with his long red hair and black cowboy hat, he seemed like just one more of the college’s 850 quirky-looking, cerebral students. But Black could not have been more out of place. A transfer student at the famously liberal college, Black represented everything most New College students and staff abhorred. At 21, he was a rising star in the white nationalist movement, the creator of a racist website for children and co-host of a national radio program aimed at fomenting hatred against blacks, Jews and other minority groups. 

His lineage in the movement was unimpeachable. Black is the son of Don Black, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and the founder of the first and largest neo-Nazi website, Stormfront. R. Derek Black is also the godson of notorious white separatist David Duke, another former KKK Grand Wizard and a former Republican Louisiana state representative, who twice ran for president. Duke was once married to Black’s mother, Chloe Hardin Black.

But by the time he graduated from New College in 2013, Black had renounced his former beliefs and become an enemy to the movement and an outcast to his family. A new book, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist, by Eli Saslow, tells the remarkable story of how New College students came together to transform Black’s values and life.

In his three years at New College, Black went from being the “leading light” of white nationalism “to somebody who was willing to lose everything to break away from it,” Saslow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Washington Post reporter, told us in a recent interview.

Read the entire story here.

Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 700 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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