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Who is David Duke?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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David Duke is a white supremacist, Nazi sympathizer, former organizer of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and anti-Semite. He holds staying power in the media and on the Internet as he advocates for what he calls “white rights,” “white separatism,” or “white nationalism.” He believes the US is under the sway of Jewish leaders, that black people and other people of color denigrate the US, and he is famous for his denials of the impact of the Holocaust.

In his political career, he made a successful bid for office as a member of the Louisiana State Legislature in 1989, despite protests by other prominent Republicans like former Presidents George Bush senior and Ronald Reagan. In bids for Governor of Louisiana, US Senate and the Presidency, which have been unsuccessful, David Duke did garner a number of votes, particularly from white residents of Louisiana.

The number of votes cast for Duke in his political career, which is now defunct, are disturbing to many, especially since Duke is labeled by the Anti Defamation League as one of the highest profile white supremacists in the US. He also has a following in Europe and in Islamic extremist countries. This following primarily endorses his Holocaust Denial statements and his contention that Jews are controlling the world or attempting to.

David Duke was born in 1950 and joined the Ku Klux Klan by the time he was seventeen years old. He became known at Louisiana State University for holding celebrations of Hitler’s birthday, and when he graduated in 1974, he also created the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He succeeded in changing the Klan significantly by suggesting that the group would be better as a business organization than as an “under robes” secret organization, a suggestion that was followed.

Duke has retreated from attempts to run for political office, but he continues to be vocal on the idea of “white separatism” and his hate for the state of Israel. He issues webcasts through his personal website, and has published several books and papers including the infamous 1988 autobiography My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding. David Duke declares he is not an anti-Semite or a racist, but he does repeatedly state that Israel is essentially a Nazi state, and that the teachings of Israel promote Jewish Supremacy. In 2007, Duke published an updated edition of the book.

In 2006, Duke, who did earn a doctorate degree, participated in the “Review of the Holocaust” held in Tehran, and organized by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. He continues to express Holocaust denial and denigration of the Jewish state of Israel, and has developed a significant following in many countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. It’s valuable to remember when US citizens are concerned about Islamo-fascism that these views are not restricted to Islam. David Duke is a US citizen, undoubtedly fascist, and continues to influence many, and though he is often criticized, it is estimated that over 500,000 copies of My Awakening have been sold, suggesting his views have an audience.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon1002941 — On Mar 26, 2020

I know that David Duke may have a high profile in the US but where I'm from Australia barely anyone has even heard of him.

By anon1001594 — On May 19, 2019

What is so bad about David Duke? So what if he is a racist.

By anon150677 — On Feb 08, 2011

David Duke is a no good nazi, and no one should listen to what he has to say.

By alex94 — On Nov 03, 2010

@anon96266: I don't think that it is a matter of us "intelligent human beings" caring what David Duke had to say. Unfortunately, our country consists of people like that and we need to know who they are and what they are about.

Wanting information about things that go on in our country doesn't mean we aren't ingelligent human beings.

By anon96266 — On Jul 15, 2010

why would any intelligent human being care what the moron david duke had to say?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia...
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