Daryl Davis, a graduate of Howard University’s Bachelor of Music Degree, is known as “The Rock’n’Roll Race Reconciliator” due to his obsession with improving race relations. After being confronted by a Ku Klux Klan member who refused to believe that the origin of his piano style was influenced by Black Blues & Boogie-Woogie pianists, Daryl began meeting and interviewing leaders and members from KKK, neo-Nazi and Alt-Right groups, which led to the writing of his highly acclaimed nonfiction book, Klan-Destine Relationships.
Daryl is the recipient of numerous Klan robes & hoods and other racist symbols, given to him by people who once hated him but have become his friends and supporters of his work. He is also the recipient of numerous awards for his work in bridging race relations, including the American Ethical Union’s prestigious Elliott-Black Award, Carnegie-Mellon’s Carl Sagan Award & Prize, Tribeca Disruption Innovation Award, MLK Award, and many others. Daryl’s impact on an audience is sobering yet inspirational, and he is often sought for commentary by major media sources.
When he speaks, Daryl Davis’s impact on an audience is sobering yet inspirational. More than a few members in every audience remember and ask him about the fictional character in Dave Chappelle’s comedic skit in which he plays a blind Klansman who didn’t know he was Black and attends Klan rallies. Daryl shares stories that would be comical, if he weren’t putting his life on the line for a purpose. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction might ever be in Daryl’s case. People will also point out how courageous Daryl was to actually turn up at Klan rallies himself. Inevitably they bring up Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman. That film depicts a Black police officer who infiltrated the KKK over the telephone and would send a White subordinate officer to Klan rallies in his place to gather damning intelligence against the Klan. The difference is not lost on the audience. Daryl had his feet on the ground in the lion’s den and tells the story first–hand.