A dark-skinned hero convinced 200 people to leave the Ku Klux Klan by simply making friends with racists
Categories: North AmericaBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/a-dark-skinned-hero-convinced-200-people-to-leave-the-ku-klux-klan-by-simply-making-friends-with-racists.html
On December 24, 1865, the racist Ku Klux Klan movement was formed in the United States, which revived in the XX century and still exists today. In the 1980s, only one person, the black musician Daryl Davis, did the impossible: he changed the views of more than 200 members of the Ku Klux Klan. He did not force them to do anything, did not threaten or blackmail them — he just got to know these people and made friends with them, although it was deadly dangerous. Daryl says, "I didn't agitate anyone to leave the clan. I just wanted to find out how they can even hate me if they don't even know me."
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On December 24, 1865, six months after the end of the American Civil War, Southern soldiers created a secret organization that was supposed to protect "lost justice", including the superiority of the white population over the black. Members of the society brutally killed people of the black race and white Republicans. In the early 1870s, the movement came to naught, but then revived twice more: in the 1920s and after the Second World War. The symbols of the organization were white robes with pointed caps and masks, a white cross on a red background and a burning cross.
How did a black person manage to get in touch with racists? Davis himself explains it this way: "I was just giving them the opportunity to get to know me and treat me the way I would like. They themselves came to the conclusion that this ideology was not for them, I only gave impetus to this step. I am happy that my friendship with people from the clan has led to something good."
Daryl had to learn ways to defend himself, because meetings with members of the Ku Klux Klan could end in a violent fight. Once in Maryland, he met the "Great Dragon" Roger Kelly (as the clan called the head of the "kingdom" — the representative office of the organization in a certain state).
According to Daryl, Roger Kelly's acquaintances warned the musician that he would kill him. But Daryl, even coming to the meeting without a real weapon, was sure that he would win. Fortunately, he was right.
"I was perfectly prepared for this meeting in the sense of knowing my topic. I had all the books written by the clan members, and I read them all. I knew the Ku Klux Klan better than most of its members. Erudition, information, wit — in relation to enemies or to those who adhere to a hostile ideology, these means are better than violence or lethal weapons. I was heavily armed."
Daryl was so good at dissuading the clan members from their ideology that the Maryland division ceased to exist. Only four people showed up at the last meeting of the local group, and two of them were dead drunk.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Daryl formulated the ideology that allowed him to achieve such results: "Establish a dialogue. When two enemies talk, they don't fight."
Daryl described his selfless mission, which lasted 30 years, in the book "The Adventures of a Black Man in the Ku Klux Klan." In addition to fighting racism, he is known for an amazing performance of boogie-woogie on the piano. The musician has performed with Chuck Berry, Bruce Hornsby, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Clinton.