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Quote and Person of the day- Daryl Davis

“When something bothers me, I try to learn about it. The most powerful tools you can have are information and knowledge”.⠀

- Daryl Davis⠀

Daryl Davis, born in Chicago 1958, has worked to improve race relations by seeking out, engaging in dialogue with, & befriending members of the KKK.

In Maryland 1983, whilst playing piano in a "white" bar, a patron came up to him & said it was the first time he had "heard a black man play as well as Jerry Lee Lewis". Davis explained to the man that "Jerry Lee learned to play from black boogie woogie piano players & he's a friend of mine." The white patron was skeptical & over a drink admitted he was a member of the KKK. The two became friends & eventually, the man gave Davis contact information on KKK leaders.⠀

A few years later, Davis decided he wanted to interview Klan members & write a book on the subject. He had a "question in my head from the age of 10: 'Why do you hate me when you know nothing about me?’.⠀

Davis organised a meeting with Maryland KKK Imperial Wizard, Roger Kelly. Kelly arrived at the motel with a bodyguard armed with a gun. Davis spoke to Kelly and the two eventually became friends with Kelly later inviting Davis to be his daughter's godfather.⠀

Davis eventually went on to befriend members of the KKK, and claims to have been indirectly responsible for over 200 people leaving the Klan. He found that the Klansmen had many misconceptions about blacks, which stem mostly from intense brainwashing in their youth. When they got to know him, Davis claims, it was more difficult to maintain their prejudices. ⠀

Richard Preston was a KKK leader who was arrested for firing his gun at counter-protesters. Davis offered to post Preston's bail & shortly thereafter, a friendship was formed & Davis was asked to give away the bride at Preston's wedding.⠀

Davis says “The lesson learned is: ignorance breeds fear. If you don't keep that fear in check, that fear will breed hatred. If you don't keep hatred in check, it will breed destruction.”

Davis has frequently played backup for Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis & B.B King & was a friend of Muddy Waters.

He’s the subject of the documentary “Accidental Courtesy”.

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