Incredible: For Thirty Years One Black Man Has Been Changing The Hearts Of KKK Members Through Peace And Understanding
Daryl Davis is an accomplished musical artist.
Mr. Davis plays the piano. He has played all around the world with rock and roll legends Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry.
But, it is his unconventional hobby of befriending and transforming members of the Ku Klux Klan that has raised eyebrows with Davis’ music fans and others over the last three decades.
“I try to bring out the humanity in people,” Davis said. “We all are human beings at the end of the day.”
Davis was born in Chicago in 1958 and he had special childhood. He traveled all over the globe as the son of a Foreign Service officer. He attended an international school that led him to assume that all children grew up with close friends of different nationalities, races and religious beliefs. It was not until his family returned to the United States that he unexpectedly felt the sting of racism.
Davis’ experiences with bigotry in America led him on a journey to question and challenge racism, even if that means he had to do it one racist at a time. So, for the last three decades he has tried to connect with Klan members. His efforts have even created some enduring friendships with former Klan members in the process.
When some of these same individuals decided to leave the Ku Klux Klan, Mr. Davis has kept their robes and hoods. The Klan regalia in his collection have become symbols of their mutual story, struggles and friendships over the many years.
Mr. Davis’ experiences and success at befriending former Ku Klux Klan members and white nationalist have been so profound that he became the subject of documentary movie released at the beginning of 2017 called Accidental Courtesy.
In Accidental Courtesy, Davis and a film crew take audiences on a trip across the country from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. – to Memphis, Tennessee – Alabama and Ferguson, Missouri.
During the journey, Davis recounts the entwined history of African Americans, racism in the United States and popular music. It is a challenging, risky and controversial quest.
Yet, Mr. Davis has done well in persuading many men to abandon their hatred to become reformed racists.
Davis is a much needed role model in a time in which racial tensions have seemingly gone back decades over just the last eight years.
It did not help that Barack Obama, who it was said was going to ‘heal the wounds of the nation,’ instead dredged up America’s racist history and tried to apply it to today. The former president was quick to sound off about the alleged systemic racism in the American justice system for political points, creating an atmosphere in which minorities have come to mistrust the police.
Davis is doing what Barack Obama should have tried to do, which is to fight genuine racism in the nation. There are extremist groups out there, both white-supremacists and black-supremacists, and it is only going to be through facing ignorance and overcoming prejudice that the country will heal.
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