Daryl Davis Headshot

Daryl Davis

Daryl Davis is a renowned musician and activist, having convinced 200 members of the Ku Klux Klan to give up their robes. Over the past 40 years, Daryl has used civil conversation to break down the barriers of racism. Now, he delivers keynote speeches on what the world can learn from his experience.

Meet Daryl Davis

Daryl Davis is a renowned blues and rock musician who’s toured the world playing with musical legends including 32 years as Chuck Berry’s piano player. That’s his profession. But Daryl also has a unique obsession. Using civil conversation to ignite positive change with members of the Ku Klux Klan and other White supremacist groups. Encountering racism firsthand at ten years old, Daryl wondered, “How can they hate me when they don’t even know me?” Daryl started meeting his detractors in person over 40 years ago to have a patient conversation about their beliefs. Daryl Davis is available to be booked for corporate and private events. He is also well-known for his keynote and motivational speaking. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group today to inquire about Daryl Davis’s fees.

Want to hire Daryl Davis for an event?

Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group at 215-510-6607 to book Daryl Davis for corporate or private events, keynote speeches, workshops, fireside chats, motivational speaking, or virtual appearances. Our agency will work directly with your organization and our keynote speakers to create an unforgettable event.

The Mollie Plotkin Group is the leading keynote speakers agency and entertainment bureau bringing excitement to audiences, clients, and employees. We represent subject-matter experts in every possible field, so whether we’re your partner in creating a memorable meeting, or your meeting planner’s secret weapon in securing the perfect keynote speaker, we’re in this with you.

Biography

Known as “The Rock’n’Roll Race Reconciliator,” Daryl Davis is not only a prolific and accredited musician, but also a champion of unification and race relations. Daryl graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Music Degree. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Post University for the unique work he has done in the field of race relations. He has performed extensively with Chuck Berry, The Legendary Blues Band (formerly The Muddy Waters Blues Band), and many others. While music is his profession, improving race relations is his obsession.

The First Time

It started during a break between performances with a band at a bar one night. A man approached Daryl and remarked that this was the first time he had ever seen a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Daryl explained that both he and Lewis were influenced by Black Blues & Boogie-Woogie pianists, from which Rock’n’Roll and Rockabilly evolved. The man did not believe in the Black origin of Daryl’s piano style even after he said that Lewis was a friend who had shared this news with him. The man then shared news with Daryl – he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Understanding

This meeting, and those that followed, would lead Daryl on a journey all over America, meeting and interviewing leaders and members from KKK, neo-Nazi, and Alt-Right groups at both his and their homes as well as their rallies. Through active listening and not looking to change their minds, an amazing thing happened. Many conversations led to understanding and genuine friendships.

“I have a lot of respect for Daryl Davis.” – Former KKK Imperial Wizard

“I trust Daryl Davis more than I trust some of my own Klan members.” – Former KKK Imperial Wizard, Current American Patriots USA

“I’m proud to be a friend of Daryl Davis.” – Former KKK Grand Dragon

Expert on Race Relations and Conflict

With his highly acclaimed, nonfiction book, Klan-Destine Relationships, Daryl became the first Black author to write a book on the Klan from in-person interviews. The award-winning documentary, Accidental Courtesy, details this journey and has been shown frequently on PBS. Furthermore, Daryl’s TEDx talk has nearly 12 million views. Additionally, Daryl, who has been to 57 countries on 6 continents, is often selected by the U.S. State Department as a highly respected expert on race relations and conflict. He is often tasked with presenting programs in countries around the world dealing with similar racial issues.

Awards & Recognition

Since 1983, Daryl has been bridging race relations and is the recipient of numerous awards such as:

  • American Ethical Union’s prestigious Elliott-Black Award,
  • Carnegie-Mellon’s Carl Sagan Award & Prize,
  • Tribeca Disruption Innovation Award,
  • MLK Award,
  • Search for Common Ground Award,
  • Washington Ethical Society Bridge-Builder Award,
  • among many others.

He has also received numerous Klan robes and other racist symbols from people who have given up their hate. Now, many of them have become his friends and supporters. Daryl is often sought for commentary by CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, People magazine, and many other media sources.

In Daryl’s words, “Ever since I graduated from college in 1980 with my degree in music, I’ve been a full-time musician, traveling and performing all over America and around the world. What I’ve come to find to be the greatest, most effective, and successful weapon we can use to combat ignorance, racism, hatred, and violence, is also the least expensive weapon – and the one that is least used by Americans. That weapon is called communication. We can communicate with people in space but many of us have difficulty talking to the person who lives next door because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion, their orientation, their politics, etc. We are living with 21st century technology in Space Age times, but there are still too many of us with Stone Age minds.”

Hire Daryl Davis for Keynote Speaking

When he speaks, Daryl Davis’s impact on an audience is sobering yet inspirational. Through his work, Daryl has discovered a successful method of transforming enemies into friends. The stories of his encounters with – and transformations of – White supremacists have inspired people all over the U.S. and abroad. The average person may never face these kinds of extreme conversations, but Daryl empowers people with personal stories and practical ways to build bridges at work, at home, and in their community – one conversation at a time. His audiences leave his presentations empowered to:

  • Overcome Their Fears
  • Confront Their Prejudices
  • Recognize Similarities
  • Appreciate Differences
  • Navigate Diversity
  • Improve Relationships with Others
  • & Better Their Lives While Creating a Positive Impact on Others.

People will also point out how courageous Daryl was to turn up at Klan rallies himself. Inevitably they bring up Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman. Specifically, 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.

How to Hire Daryl Davis

Find out how to hire Daryl Davis to appear at your next event. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group to inquire about Daryl Davis’s availability and cost. When booking Daryl Davis for an event, we need to know the type of venue and location the event will take place. Daryl Davis is a popular choice for corporate events, private events, and virtual events. So, you can click the Check Availability button or contact us and an MPG Daryl Davis booking agent will get back to you within 48 hours.

Daryl Davis Booking Price

How much to book Daryl Davis depends on the type of event. So, the cost to hire Daryl Davis for corporate or private events is available by contacting a Mollie Plotkin Group Agent. Notably, Daryl Davis is available for conferences, festivals, private parties, and events. Just contact the Mollie Plotkin Group and tell the booking agent the proposed date, time, and location.

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Key Audience Takeaways

Hate – Undone: Conversations That Ignite Change

Conversation can build bridges or walls. It’s up to us. Daryl Davis should know. The noted Black musician gained international acclaim by confronting leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and other White supremacist groups face to face. In fact, Daryl’s effort to understand them, not to change minds, forged unlikely and genuine friendships. Over time, many of his new friends changed their minds and renounced their old beliefs. What can we learn from Daryl’s inspiring and jaw-dropping experiences?

Key Takeaways:

  • Apply universal tools to create positive change wherever conflict or disagreement exists.
  • Prepare: Understand the other person’s position and reasoning before you engage.
  • You needn’t respect what people say but you must respect their right to say it.
  • Learn to listen, understand, and keep emotions in check, even in incendiary situations.
  • How to recover/repair a relationship with a colleague, client, friend, or family member.

Diversity Lessons From a Black Klan Whisperer

“We spend too much time talking about the other person, talking at the other person, and talking past the other person. Amazing things can happen when we spend some time talking with the other person.” Daryl Davis’s jaw-dropping experiences engaging KKK and White supremacist leaders hold lessons that inspire audiences to think differently about how they engage others who don’t share their views, backgrounds, religion, etc. The more we talk, the more we understand each other and discover what we have in common. That’s when the possibilities open up and the importance of our differences diminishes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn to build bridges and ignite positive change in the workplace, community, and at home.
  • Everyone wants the same 5 things – learn what they are and how they drive behavior.
  • Spend 5 minutes together and you will find things in common with even your worst enemy.
  • A missed opportunity for dialogue is a missed opportunity for conflict resolution.
  • The power of empathy – put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

2042 – What’s Driving Hate and How to Stop It

The forces of hate are on the rise in America, making more headlines each day. What can be done about this troubling trend? With over 40 years of engaging KKK and far-right White supremacist groups as a Black man, Daryl Davis provides answers. He tells audiences what’s driving this domestic terror, including fear of 2042, the year America is predicted to become a non-White majority nation. Fringe groups are stoking people’s worst fears about that – fostering hate that is very real and extremely dangerous.

In this talk, Daryl reminds people that hate is learned – and what is learned can be unlearned. Engaging and educating, not shunning those with toxic beliefs, is crucial. Sharing his powerful personal stories of building true friendships with the same people who once hated him simply for the color of his skin, Daryl shows how to build bridges and be a force for creating a better world. Engaging those who don’t share our beliefs promotes understanding and respect, even in the face of serious disagreement or differences. Daryl believes we can all play a part in ending hate because “There’s only one race – the human race.”

Key Takeaways:

  • How fear drives hate and engagement overcomes it.
  • The key to changing another’s reality is through perception.
  • Ways to overcome one’s prejudices, biases, and fears.
  • How one person can make a world of positive difference.
  • How to navigate a world of ever-growing diversity.

Hail, Hail Rock’n’Roll – The Ultimate Bridge-Builder

At its inception, Rock ’n’ Roll was called “the devil’s music” by its detractors. Some cities banned it altogether. Rooted in Black R&B and Blues, its infectious beat led young people in the South to leap over the rope that segregated Whites from Blacks in the audience. The 1957 Chuck Berry lyric, “Deliver me from the days of old,” in his hit song School Days, celebrated the music as a turning point in race relations. Daryl brings that history forward into his own story, using music as a common denominator and proving that musical and racial harmony go hand-in-hand.

Key Takeaways:

  • How musical inspiration differs from musical appropriation.
  • The Elvis conundrum: How he was crowned King of a genre he didn’t create.
  • How Country and Blues are the same music, and why society separates them.
  • How a Black musical genre improved race relations and elected a Black president.
  • Why music is a cultural necessity and not a luxury.

Client Testimony for Daryl Davis

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