How One Man Transformed Over 200 KKK Members

By Neenah Payne

The Bible says in Matthew 5:43-48, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

When Daryl Davis, a Black American, befriended a KKK Imperial Wizard, he left the Klan and closed branches in 13 states. Davis helped dismantle the Maryland KKK because things “fell apart” after he made inroads with members there. In 42 years, over 200 Klansmen/Neo Nazis have renounced their racist ideology after meeting Davis. Several gave Davis their Klan robes, hoods, and flags  which he intends to display in a museum. When people tell Davis to burn the paraphernalia, he says, Yes, it is despicable. But it’s also a part of our history. And you don’t burn our history: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the shameful. You expose it, so it doesn’t happen again.”

Davis’ book Klandestine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Klu Klux Klan received numerous awards. It costs $300 as a paperback, $518 as a mass market paperback, and $4,991 in hard copy on Amazon! Davis’ award-winning 2017 documentary Accidental Courtesy on PBS and Amazon describes “A musician’s unusual, controversial hobby: trying to befriend members of KKK, many of whom had never met a Black person.”

Davis’ Pro Human Foundation helps Americans reconcile differences. Davis has traveled all over the US and the world to share his methodology. Can Davis’ method help other Americans divided along political and ideological lines? Davis says, “When the conversation ceases, the ground becomes fertile for violence. That’s why we always want to keep the conversation going.”

See When Free Speech Dies, The Killing Begins.

How To Communicate With People You Disagree With

Daryl Davis: the black musician who converts Ku Klux Klan members.

Davis graduated from Howard University with a degree in Jazz. Grammy Award winning pianist, vocalist, and guitarist, Davis has played all over the world with legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard. As the son of American Foreign Service members, Davis grew up in 63 countries. Until the age of 10, he lived overseas where he attended school with kids from many countries. When his family returned to America, Davis experienced racism. That puzzled him and sent him on a lifelong quest to understand the mind of racists – especially KKK members and Neo-Nazis.

Since America was still segregated in the 1950s, if Blacks and Whites attended a concert, they had to sit in separate sections.  However, with the advent of Rock & Roll, Blacks and Whites began to dance in the aisles! Davis explains that without Chuck Berry, there would have been no Rock & Roll – and thus, no Elvis Presley, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc. After a Klansman befriended Davis at a club where Davis was performing, Davis met other Klan members. Davis discovered their hatred was based on a lack of information which fueled fear.

“Klan Whisperer” encourages respect, understanding to resolve conflict 2/21/24

Daryl Davis challenges Elon students to respect other people, regardless of their views.

The first Klansman Davis had a conversation with was Roger Kelly, state leader of the Maryland chapter of the KKK…. Davis was invited to Kelly’s house and Klan rallies, while Kelly and other Klan members were invited to Davis’ shows…. This mutual respect ultimately led to Kelly leaving the Klan and giving Davis his robe.

Davis credits the success of his journey with Kelly and other members of the Klan to understanding five ….core values. “Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone wants to be respected, we all want to be heard, we want to be treated fairly and truthfully, and we all want the same things for our family.” Once Davis discovered these core values, he found any uncomfortable conversation can become navigable.

“There are a lot of hot topics out here today,” Davis said. “…but if you apply those five core values when you have those conversations, you will each learn something from the other.”

Why Daryl Davis Befriends KKK Members

Daryl Davis: Why I Befriend Neo-Nazis and the KKK (video) 6/4/24

At the age of 10, I formed a question in my mind, which was: how can you hate me when you don’t even know me? And now, for the next 56 years, I’ve been looking for the answer to that question.”

The son of American Foreign Service members, Daryl Davis grew up in many different countries and was exposed to a variety of cultures, religions, and ideologies. He became an internationally renowned musician, touring and performing with the likes of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and B.B. King.

But a personal experience with bigotry at a young age made him curious about why people hate. “When I met this guy, he was a Grand Dragon. And he rose through the ranks to Imperial Wizard. And when he dropped out, because of this perception change and hanging out with me, he gave me his Klan robe and his hood,” says Mr. Davis. Today, Mr. Davis has made a second career out of befriending white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan, helping over 200 of them to renounce their racist ideology…

We dive into Mr. Davis’s childhood, his passion for music, his encounters with the Klan, and the methodology he uses for helping them to renounce their racism. “The greatest weapon to combat racism, anti-Semitism, [and] all types of discrimination is the least expensive weapon known to man. It’s free, yet it is the most underused. It’s called conversation,” says Mr. Davis.

Conversion of KKK National Imperial Wizard

Davis discusses his meetings with Roger Kelley who rose from the KKK Grand Dragon in Maryland to the national Imperial Wizard. A former Klan member had warned Davis not to meet Kelley because Kelley would kill him! However,  Davis walked Kelley’s bride down the aisle and became the Godfather of his daughter! When Kelley left the Klan, he gave Davis his robe and hood!

Daryl Davis Did the Unthinkable

Reforming Over 200 KKK Members

Daryl Davis on Reforming Over 200 ‘Ku Klux Klan’ Members – by Befriending Them – E064 7/18/23

How do we build bridges with our fiercest adversaries—those that it would seem impossible for us to sit down and have a conversation with—change their hearts and minds, and turn them into lifelong friends? What causes some people to develop radically racist beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes, and how can we, in our current capacities, seek to inspire and transform them?

What kind of discipline do we need to build to successfully lead sustained, positive reform in our communities? Find out from renowned activist and race relations expert, Daryl Davis.

Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post

Become a Patron!
Or support us at SubscribeStar
Donate cryptocurrency HERE

Subscribe to Activist Post for truth, peace, and freedom news. Follow us on SoMee, Telegram, HIVE, Minds, MeWe, Twitter – X, Gab, and What Really Happened.

Provide, Protect and Profit from what’s coming! Get a free issue of Counter Markets today.

Activist Post Daily Newsletter

Subscription is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL
Free Report: How To Survive The Job Automation Apocalypse with subscription

Be the first to comment on "How One Man Transformed Over 200 KKK Members"

Leave a comment