One Black Man Has Convinced 200 KKK Members To Leave Through Friendship
December 22, 2016
One black man has single-handedly managed to convince 200 members of the Ku Klux Klan to leave simply by befriending them.
Daryl Davis, 58, a musician and author, has traveled all over the US since the early 1980s actively seeking out and befriending members of the organization.
Davis has documented his mission in the book Klan-destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan which is set to be re-released with an updated version in 2017.
Daryl says he often uses his music to bridge the gap.
“Music absolutely played a massive role in bridging many gaps in the racial divides I would encounter,” Davis said. “Once when I was performing in a predominantly white venue, a white man approached me on my break and put his arm around me and exclaimed, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever heard a black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis’.”
“I never set out to convert anyone in the Klan. I just set out to get an answer to my question: ‘How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?'”
“I simply gave them a chance to get to know me and treat them the way I want to be treated. They come to their own conclusion that this ideology is no longer for them. I am often the impetus for coming to that conclusion and I’m very happy that some positivity has come out of my meetings and friendships with them.”
Despite his incredible work Daryl does receive some mixed reactions to making friendships with people who have held such extremist views.
“There was surprise and shock on both sides (black and white), mostly from people who don’t know me, or who haven’t bothered to research me, read up on me, or hear my interviews or lectures.
“Not all, but most of the criticism has come from black people. I have been called a ‘sellout’, ‘Uncle Tom’, ‘Oreo’ and a number of other terrible names.
“Unfortunately, I must compare these particular black people with the KKK and other white supremacist groups, with no distinction, other than the color of their skin.”
Daryl says America today is less racist than it has been in the past but that he continues his work every day.
“This is a quote from the American author Mark Twain, which I find to be most accurate: ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.'”