Black man reveals why former Klan members offer him their robes and hoods

By Pam Barrett
February 2, 2004

Daryl DavisOn Feb. 19 at Wake Forest University, race relations expert and author Daryl Davis will present “A Black Man’s Odyssey into the Ku Klux Klan,” a lecture about confronting prejudices, overcoming fears and forging peace with a person’s most likely adversaries.

The lecture will be held in Pugh Auditorium at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

In the lecture, Davis explains how during his quest to explore racism and gather information for his book, “Klan-Destine Relationships,” Klan members have come to know him, respect him and often change their beliefs. He shares exciting and amusing anecdotes about attending KKK rallies and holding surprise meetings with Klan leaders who were unaware he was black.

Although his unique method of forming friendships between sworn enemies has often made him the center of controversy in both white and black circles, Davis has said that his detractors have often become his supporters after he has proven his methods do work and issued the challenge: “I have Klan robes and hoods hanging in my closet, given to me voluntarily by members who have quit the Klan since coming to know me. That’s what I’ve done to improve race relations. How many robes and hoods have you received as a result of your methods?”

A graduate of Howard University, Davis has received acclaim for both his book and his work in race relations from many national sources including: CNN, CNBC, “Good Morning America,” The Learning Channel, National Public Radio, The Washington Post and the American Ethical Union.

Davis is also a Grammy-award winning blues and R&B pianist that performs regularly with his own Daryl Davis Band. He has toured extensively with Muddy Water’s Legendary Blues Band, Chuck Berry and others.

The lecture is sponsored by the Wake Forest Student Union.

For more information, contact Kiley Smith, Student Union lectures coordinator, at 336-758-5697.

NOTE TO THE EDITOR: To arrange coverage or an interview, contact Pam Barrett at the News Service at or 336-758-5237.

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