The Man Who Befriends White Supremacists

The Man Who Befriends White Supremacists.

Daryl Davis is an American rhythm and blues musician, author, actor and bandleader. Known for his energetic style of Boogie-woogie piano, Davis has played with such musicians as Chuck BerryJerry Lee LewisB. B. King, and Bruce Hornsby. His efforts to improve race relations, in which as an African-American he engaged with members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), have been reported on by media such as CNN and The Washington Post. Davis summed up his advice as: “Establish dialogue. When two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting. Davis is a Christian and he has used his religious beliefs to convince Klansmen to leave and denounce the KKK.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1958, Davis was the son of a Department of State Foreign Service officer, and moved around the globe with his parents during most of his early childhood. Living in various foreign countries, including African nations, Davis grew accustomed to the casually integrated schools of foreign diplomats, where children of many nations, races and cultures were schooled together—and grew up oblivious to the racism in his home country. Not until he returned to the United States, at age 10, did he discover that people could hate him for his skin colour, alone. The awakening incident came when he joined an all-white Cub Scout troop, in Belmont, Massachusetts, and—while carrying the flag, with his troop, in a local parade—began to be struck with rocks and bottles thrown from the crowd, until troop leaders formed a protective ring around him; young Davis did not understand the incident until he discussed it with his father. The illogic of it, in his mind, led to a lifelong curiosity about such attitudes—a curiosity which would later shape much of his future activity.

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