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*David Duke was born on this date in 1950. He is a white-American politician, white supremacist, and antisemitic conspiracy theorist.
David Ernest Duke was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Maxine (née Crick) and David Hedger Duke, the younger of two children. As the son of an engineer for Shell Oil Company, Duke frequently moved with his family around the world. In 1954, they lived in the Netherlands briefly before settling in an all-white area of New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1955. His mother was an alcoholic; his father permanently left in 1966 for Laos, taking a job with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
While in New Orleans, Duke attended the Clifton L. Ganus School, where his segregationist awakening started in the eighth grade. Duke transferred to Warren Easton Senior High and Riverside Military Academy and attended the integrated John F. Kennedy High School in Gainesville, Georgia. By the time he graduated, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
While working in the White Youth Alliance, Duke met Chloê Eleanor Hardin, who was also active in the group; they married in 1974. Hardin is the mother of Duke's two daughters. They divorced in 1984. From 1974 to 1980, he was the grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. His politics and writings are largely devoted to promoting conspiracy theories about Jews, such as Holocaust denial and Jewish control of academia, the press, and the financial system.
Duke unsuccessfully ran as a Democratic candidate for state legislature during the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in his campaign for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. After failing to gain any traction within the Democratic Party, he gained the presidential nomination of the minor Populist Party. In December 1988, Duke became a Republican and claimed to have become a born-again Christian, nominally renouncing antisemitism and racism. He soon won his only elected office, the Louisiana House of Representatives seat. By the late 1990s, Duke had abandoned his pretense of rejecting racism and antisemitism and began to promote racist and neo-Nazi viewpoints openly. He then devoted himself to writing about his political views in newsletters and later on the Internet.
In his writings, he denigrates Blacks and other ethnic nonwhites and promotes conspiracy theories about a Jewish plot to control America and the world. During the 1990s, Duke defrauded his political supporters by pretending to be in dire financial straits and soliciting money for necessities. Duke rented an apartment in Moscow beginning around 1999. He lived in Russia for five years. In December 2002, Duke pleaded guilty to felony fraud and served a 15-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Big Spring in Texas.
In 2013, the Anti-Defamation League called Duke "perhaps America's most well-known racist and anti-Semite." In 2016, Duke announced that he planned to run for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate seat in Louisiana. In 2019, the media reported Duke had endorsed Tulsi Gabbard for the Democratic nomination for president. After Gabbard's defeat, Duke endorsed Trump for reelection. Duke now resides in Mandeville, Louisiana.