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.

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college the state's Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in liberal arts and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

Inquiries about this article can be made to 941-487-4157 or to email us.

Do you know of an event or story we should share? Tell us about it.

Related News

Campus News

“Visions” film series illuminated Black life

December 1, 2020

Inspiring cultural dialogue was the goal and cinema was the medium as the second annual “Visions of the Black Experience”…

Black Voices on Campus

2020 grad is activist, scientist and educator

July 6, 2020

Longtime activist and youth mentor Dajé Austrie, who graduated in May, begins his career as a science teacher at Southeast…

Black Voices on Campus

Alum inspires global dialogue on tolerance

June 29, 2020

Peace Corps volunteer Donovan Brown ’13, a New College alum and activist, has spent years advocating for black rights and…