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Daryl Davis

Using Words & Speech to Combat Systemic Racism

Meet Daryl Davis, a race relations expert. He is an entertainer and musician, an author and lecturer. And he is speaking out, but this isn’t new work for him. It started in 1983 and today, it is more important than ever.

He speaks out about race relations and systemic racism from personal experience. His work transforms enemies into friends.

From sharing stories of connection through music to attending Ku Klux Klan meetings, he knows ignorance breeds fear. His stories of encounters with – and transformations of – White supremacists have inspired many.

Speech Titles

  • Civil Conversations Ignite Positive Change: It’s simply amazing what empathy and civil conversation can accomplish. Daryl Davis should know. For nearly 40 years the noted Black musician has gained acclaim for confronting extreme bias with civility. He has engaged, face-to-face, those who hate him because of the color of his skin: members and leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and other White Supremacist groups. Disbelief is most people’s first reaction: How could he possibly be civil to “those people?” But Daryl reached out in an effort to understand – not to change minds.

  • The Klan Whisperer: Daryl Davis is a Black man who for almost 40 years has walked on the edge – with one foot dangling over the precipice – on a quest to explore racism. Along the way, Daryl has befriended White supremacists, attended Ku Klux Klan rallies, been a pallbearer at a Grand Dragon's funeral, performed hymns at an Imperial Wizard's funeral, stood in as the surrogate father of a Klanswoman bride and spurred the dismantling of the largest Klan group in the State of Maryland.
  • What’s Driving White Supremacy Today?: From the high influx of non-European immigration to the United States, to a Black President, to a violent and deadly White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., to the rhetoric that inspired an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, to fear of the "Browning of America," … Daryl Davis is the voice of knowledge, reason, and tranquility in uncertain, racially turbulent times.
  • Hail, Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll – Deliver Me from the Days of Old: It was music that launched Daryl Davis’ crazy connection to the Ku Klux Klan. He was complimented at a show by a white man who said he’d never heard a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. The ensuing conversation led to an introduction to the leader of the Maryland KKK.

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Davis’s story is one of inspiration and action. He is engaging in difficult conversations and pushing for change. He is sharing stories because they have the power to make a difference. And those stories ARE making a difference. Contact Preferred Speakers today to learn more and book Daryl Davis.
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