Michigan State University

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Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America

Thursday, November 8, 2018 5:00 pm

Speaker: Daryl Davis

Location: 107 South Kedzie

One day 30 years ago a man told Daryl Davis—a world-class blues pianist—that he’d never seen a black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Mr. Davis explained they both 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 Mr. Davis. Turns out, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This experience led to Mr. Davis becoming the first black author to travel the country interviewing KKK leaders and members.

For the past three decades, Mr. Davis has spent time befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan. Once the friendship blossoms, the Klansmen realize that their hate may be misguided. Since Mr. Davis started talking with these members, he says 200 Klansmen have given up their robes. When that happens, Mr. Davis collects the robes and keeps them in his home as a reminder of the dent he has made in racism by simply sitting down and having dinner with people.

Mr. Davis has received widespread acclaim for his book, Klan-Destine Relationships,and his work in race relations. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, Good Morning America, The Learning Channel, andNPR, and he is the recipient of numerous awards.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science