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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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
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.
Since 1983, Daryl has been bridging race relations and is the recipient of numerous awards such as:
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.”
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:
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.
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.
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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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?
“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.
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.”
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.
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells on that it is right.” Daryl Davis continues to take a position that is not safe, political, or popular, but is right because it is driven by his conscience and courage.
The work that Daryl is doing to bridge the divide, sets an example for our nation and world to follow in light of the current racial tensions. Daryl is truly committed to creating the Beloved Community where hate no longer exists, but love prevails. – Reverend Dr. Bernice King, Daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr & Coretta Scott King, and CEO, The King Center (Atlanta, GA)
in ways that are difficult to measure. The past year we’ve all been living through difficult and trying times and it’s nice to hear someone who can break down barriers and remind all of us of our humanity. Daryl has proven that one person can make a difference and we should all strive to emulate his accomplishments. His message is simple, yet so important at the same time. I would recommend Daryl as a speaker for any audience, at any age. – President & CEO, National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (Virtual Event)
we don’t want to be around anyone disagreeing with us – we self-select our news sources and self-select our encounters. I admire Daryl Davis because he did exactly the opposite. You can’t have a culture of encounter if you say I want to encounter interesting new people who know more than I do about nuclear physics but dear God I don’t want to encounter anyone who fundamentally has a different take on things than I do. – President Bill Clinton
was certainly felt long after you left the property. Your name came up SO many times in the post-event feedback (no surprise there!), including this particular share when members were asked to mention a standout part of the Live Experience: “Daryl Davis without a doubt. I am still buzzing mentally about that talk.” This was, of course one of many. – Head of Community Relationships & Member Experience, MMT
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