He is not white. He’s not even light-skinned. Make no mistake about it; he is black. Yet, Klan-Destine Relationships author Daryl Davis has come in closer contact with members of the Ku Klux Klan than most white non-members and certainly most blacks — short of being on the wrong end of a rope. What’s more? He continues to do so, making him one of the most unique lecturers on the speaking circuit today.
Over the last twenty-five years, Daryl Davis has walked on the edge with one foot dangling over the precipice. His stories of setting up surprise meetings with Klan leaders unaware of his skin color and attending KKK rallies, has the suspense of Hitchcock, keeping audiences riveted to their seats in disbelief. He is one man successfully taking on the oldest (150 years) and most racist and organization in the United States, by himself.
On a quest to do nothing more than explore racism and gather information for his book, Klan-Destine Relationships, Daryl Davis eventually became the recipient of robes and hoods from Klan members who came to rescind their beliefs after coming to know him. Davis had inadvertently stumbled upon a successful method of forming friendships between sworn enemies. His methods have made him the center of controversy. In some white circles he has been deemed “politically incorrect” and in some black circles he has been called an “Uncle Tom.” Daryl Davis often makes supporters out of his detractors by proving his methods work and issuing this challenge: “I have Klan robes and hoods hanging in my closet, given to me voluntarily by members who have quit the Klan since coming to know me. That’s what I’ve done to improve race relations. How many robes and hoods have you received as a result of your methods?”
Daryl Davis earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from Howard University. An accomplished blues and R&B musician, he performs regularly with his own Daryl Davis Band. He has toured extensively with Muddy Waters’ Legendary Blues Band and Chuck Berry, among others.
As a race relations expert, Daryl Davis has received acclaim for his book, Klan-Destine Relationships and his work in race relations from many respected sources including: CNN, CNBC, Good Morning America, The Learning Channel, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, The American Ethical Union, The Washington Ethical Society, and National Geographic.
Filled with exciting encounters and amusing anecdotes, Daryl Davis’ impassioned lectures leaves an audience feeling empowered to confront their own prejudices and overcome their fears. They leave the lecture seeking and hopefully finding a common ground, to help forge peace with their most unlikely adversaries.
Accidental Courtesy, the award-winning documentary profiling Daryl, his life and work, was released in 2017, and premiered on the PBS Independent Lens series, to critical acclaim and lots of buzz.
This is one program that will inspire discussions and provoke minds…
“Daryl was the right person at the right time for Manchester. His message, timeless, was well, WELL received and is still being talked about on campus almost a week later. We had over 500 people in attendance, the most my Office has had for a presentation like this on campus in the six years I’ve worked for Manchester…” – Michael Dixon, Director of Intercultural Services – Manchester University
“I just wanted to let you know that Daryl Davis far exceeded my expectations! I, along with the audience, was very pleased with his presentation.” – Chad A. Long, Manager of Student Affairs – Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus
“It was awesome. He did really well. Everybody loved him.” Fran Faraz, Peace Studies Program Director – Golden West College
“The lecture itself was captivating. Daryl is such a great story teller…he really draws you in. I wish we could have let him speak longer so that he could have shared more stories of his encounters, more video clips & some more of his amazing piano skills. There were women on either side of me who could barely contain themselves – they were ready to boogie when he tickled those ivories! Daryl received a much-deserved standing ovation at the conclusion of the night and I saw many community & campus members approach him for a handshake and photo before his departure. ” Convocation Committee – Franklin College/IN
Daryl Davis on National Geographic’s ‘Taboo’