Stephen Donald Black was born in Athens, Alabama, and became a white supremacy advocate at an early age when he began passing out racist newspapers White Power and the Thunderbolt at his high school. This led to a decision by the local school board to ban the distribution of political literature. Black countered by mailing literature to student addresses obtained from school handbooks. He said in an interview that growing up in the South during the turmoil of the civil rights movement made him aware from a "White" political perspective.
In the summer of 1970, after his junior year at Athens High School, Black traveled to Savannah, Georgia, to work on the gubernatorial campaign of J. B. Stoner, a segregationist and leader of the National States' Rights Party (NSRP). It was in this election that Jimmy Carter won the Georgia governorship. Don Black was asked to obtain a copy of the NSRP membership list by Robert Lloyd, a leader of the National Socialist White People's Party, formerly known as the American Nazi Party. At the time, Black was a member of the Party's youth branch, the National Socialist Youth Movement.
Also working on the Stoner campaign was Jerry Ray, brother of Martin Luther King's assassin James Earl Ray. On July 25, 1970, Jerry Ray shot Black (who was 16 at the time) in the chest with a .38-caliber hollow-point bullet to stop him from taking files from Stoner's campaign office. Ray was acquitted of all charges, saying he shot in self-defense after Black reached for what appeared to be a weapon.
Black finished his senior year at Madison Academy (Alabama), a private school in Huntsville. Then after high school, Black graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1975.
Black joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1975, one year after David Duke took over the organization. He moved to Birmingham to become the group's state organizer. After the resignation of Duke in 1978, Black became Grand Wizard, or national director, of the Klan. In 1979, he ran for mayor of Birmingham, receiving 2.5 percent of the vote. Richard Arrington, Jr. won the mayoral election, becoming Birmingham's first African American mayor.
On April 27, 1981, Black and nine other would-be mercenaries – many recruited from Klan affiliated organizations – were arrested in New Orleans as they prepared to board a boat stocked with weapons and ammunition to invade the island nation Dominica in what they would call Operation Red Dog. Local media would label the botched attempt the "Bayou of Pigs", a play on words for the unsuccessful 1961 "Bay of Pigs Invasion" of Cuba.
Black later explained the invasion as an attempt to set up an anti-communist regime, saying, "What we were doing was in the best interests of the United States and its security in the hemisphere, and we feel betrayed by our own government," The invasion was intended to restore former prime minister Patrick John to the mostly black Caribbean island. Prosecutors said the real purpose for the invasion would have been to set up tourism, gambling, offshore banking, and timber logging operations on the impoverished island.
In 1981, Black was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the attempted invasion and his violation of the Neutrality Act. Black, Federal Bureau of Prisons #16692-034, was released on November 15, 1984. During his time in federal prison Black took computer programming classes which led him to establish Stormfront on the Internet years later. In 1986 Black rethought his commitment to the KKK, resigning from the group in 1987.
He ran for office in Alabama, this time as a Populist Party US Senate candidate.
In 1995, Black founded Stormfront, which was the internet's first major racial hate site. To date, it remains one of the most popular online resources for those drawn to racial ideologies. Stormfront featured the writings of William Luther Pierce and David Duke, as well as works by the Institute for Historical Review. Initially, along with these articles, Stormfront housed a library of white pride, neo-Nazi and white power skinhead graphics for downloading, and a number of links to other white nationalist websites.
In a 1998 interview for the alternative weekly newspaper Miami New Times, Black is quoted as saying "We want to take America back. We know a multicultural Yugoslav nation can't hold up for too long. Whites won't have any choice but to take military action. It's our children whose interests we have to defend." In December 2007, Black gained attention for donating money to Ron Paul's 2008 presidential run.
In 1999, Don Black created the website "martinlutherking.org", which is administered by Stormfront. This innocuous appearing website ostensibly was created to malign the character of King.
In 2008, Black said that the establishment of white pride as a special interest group within the Republican Party is crucial. Asked by an interviewer for Italian newspaper la Repubblica if Stormfront was not just the new Ku Klux Klan, Black responded affirmatively, though he noted that he would never say so to an American journalist.
On May 5, 2009 it was announced that Black was one of 22 on a British Home Office list of individuals banned from entering the United Kingdom for "promoting serious criminal activity and fostering hatred that might lead to inter-community violence".
Stormfront forum acts as one of the largest online gathering of Holocaust deniers in the world, with hundreds of thousands of views on threads about revising World War II history. A number of radio shows published by Black's web site have featured Holocaust denial themes.
Black has set a goal of $7,500 in donations each month for "basic expenses." The website allows people to be "Sustaining Members" for $5 a month, $30 a month for a CORE Support membership, or $1,000 for a lifetime supporter.
In 2008, it was revealed Don Black's wife, Chloe, works as an executive assistant for sugar baron José "Pepe" Fanjul who runs the Florida Crystals company and owns a real estate business in Latin American countries. In particular, her job duties included acting as the spokesperson for a charter school "to lift underprivileged black and Hispanic children out of poverty."
The story was successively reported by Gawker, the New York Post, the Palm Beach Post, and Fox News, and resulted in Black being criticized by some other white nationalists. Chloe was previously married to David Duke.
In August 2008 Black's 19-year-old son Derek was elected to one of 111 seats on the Palm Beach County, Florida, Republican committee, with 167 of 287 votes. The committee however, refused to seat Black, citing a loyalty oath he failed to sign before registering his candidacy. The oath states candidates must refrain from activities "likely to injure the name of the Republican Party." He hosted the Derek Black Show weekdays on a local West Palm Beach, Florida, AM radio station, WPBR, to which Don Black paid $600 a week to broadcast content on. The radio show concluded in January 2013, with Derek Black appearing on few episodes over the last year.
Beginning in 2013, Derek Black's racist ideologies came into question, and he began to renounce white supremacism and issued an apology to those harmed by his previous actions and beliefs. His renunciation reportedly shocked his father and like-minded people. By 2016 Derek Black had fully renounced his white nationalist views and was actively speaking out against such views in the press.