For world renowned black pianist, Darryl Davis, playing an instrument was not his only way to try and change the world. He decided to dedicate his life to trying to befriend members of the notorious Ku Klux Klan and trying to sway their ideals of African Americans. It all started at a show Davis performed at an All White Lounge in Las Vegas where he had a run in with a Klansman. That conversation that sparked a relationship between the two ultimately led to the Klansman giving up his hood and leaving the klan. Since then, Davis has made it his duty to go out and try to encourage klansmen to start to embrace other cultures across the world.
He talks about that run in in the Guardian
“He came up to me and said he liked my piano playing,” says Davis, “then he told me this was the first time he heard a black man play as well as Jerry Lee Lewis.” Davis, somewhat amused, explained to the man: “Jerry Lee learned to play from black blues and boogie woogie piano players and he’s a friend of mine. He told me himself where he learned to play.” At first, Davis says, the man was skeptical that Jerry Lee Lewis had been schooled by black musicians, but Davis went on to explain in more detail. “He was fascinated,” says Davis, “but he didn’t believe me. Then, he told me he was a Klansman.”
Davis seeked out the leader of the Klan (from Maryland) and began his journey to try and put an end to the foolishness. “I respect someone’s right to air their views whether they are wrong or right,” said Davis, ” You have to address what’s in the person head and in their heart.”
Check out the pictures from his journey.