Daryl Davis Comes to African American Read In



Davis attended rallies to get a deeper understanding of the world of the KKK.

Destiny Heid '17, Features Editor

February is African American History Month. Each year, Wakefield celebrates with a special event. This year, the African American Read In has a special artist as the keynote speaker. Daryl Davis is a talented musician and author. He plays piano and sits with Klan members to try to communicate about race. The Chieftain recently garnered an exclusive interview with this great man:

What is one of your life mantras? 

“While you are actively learning about others, you are, at the same time, passively teaching them about yourself.” 

It is very important to always be truthful with the people from whom you are gleaning information.  You may think you are getting something from them, but you should realize that they are assessing you as well.  Therefore, you want to represent yourself in your best and most transparent light.  If you give them reason to question your credibility, then you have lost the means to accomplish your goal.

While you are actively learning about others, you are, at the same time, passively teaching them about yourself.

— Daryl Davis

You have one of the most compelling missions in life. What made you decide to visit KKK meetings and talk about race relationships with members?

After a racist attack on me as a 10-year-old child, for no other reason than the color of my skin, I developed a question which has remained with me ever since.  That question is: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”

I have spent the better part of my life, seeking the answer(s) to that question.  Who better to ask such a question to, than someone who would join an organization whose whole premise is hating those who do not look like them or believe as they do?  So, I sought out members of the Ku Klux Klan.  That is how I cam to meet with them, just trying to find answers.

How many times have you felt that your life was in danger for attempting to communicate about race with KKK members?

 There have been a few times my life was in danger with neo-Nazis and KKK members, but also with Black Supremacists as well. Fortunately, I prevailed, not only on the street (physically), but also in the court room (legally).

Ignorance breeds fear.  If that fear is not kept in check, the fear will breed hatred.  If the hatred is not kept in check, the hatred will breed violence and destruction.

You have convinced KKK members to rescind their beliefs. What have you said to convince them to give up a lifetime of hatred?

Not all people are going to stop being racist.  There will be those who will carry their racism, hatred, and violence with them to their graves.  But, those who did give it up and saw the light, resulted mostly from the fact that they had never had a heart-to-heart talk with another human being that did not share the same skin color that they have.

#WARRIORNATION, Come out to the African American Read-In on Monday, February 22nd in the auditorium from 11:30am -12:30pm to hear more!