Shift Lab Speaker Series: Daryl Davis


“Klan We Talk?”
Wednesday, October 17 2018 at 7pm
Hyatt Place Edmonton (9576 Jasper Ave.)

Klan-Destine Relationships author Daryl Davis has come in closer contact with members of the Ku Klux Klan than most— 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 race relations experts and activists today.

Daryl is an accomplished Blues, Rock & Roll, Country, and Jazz musician, who has worked extensively with The Legendary Blues Band and Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires, Percy Sledge, Sam Moore and others. After a performance in a Country music bar, a man told Daryl he’d never seen a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Daryl explained, both he and Lewis learned from Black Blues and Boogie Woogie pianists. The man didn’t believe in the Black origin of the music but became a regular fan of Daryl’s. Turns out, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This experience led to Daryl becoming the first Black author to travel the country interviewing KKK leaders and members as detailed in Klan-Destine Relationships.

He 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. However, his methods have also made him the center of controversy for both whites and blacks, and he has been called everything from politically incorrect to an “Uncle Tom.”

Daryl has received acclaim for Klan-Destine Relationships and he has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Good Morning America, The Learning Channel, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Baltimore Sun. He is the recipient of the The American Ethical Union’s Elliott-Black Award, The Washington Ethical Society’s Bridge Builder, and a 2014 recipient of the Search for Common Ground Award among others. As an actor, Daryl has appeared in the critically acclaimed television show The Wire and a number of stage plays and movie roles. He is also the subject of the documentary Accidental Courtesy.

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