Legendary pianist and author Daryl Davis to present Carleton convocation

February 12, 2018

Legendary R&B pianist and author Daryl Davis will present Carleton’s weekly convocation on Friday, Feb. 16 in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Known for his energetic style of Boogie-woogie piano, Davis has played with such musicians as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Percy Sledge, B.B. King, and Bruce Hornsby. An African-American, Davis has also carved a unique and inspiring path by actively working to improve race relations by personally engaging with members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). In his presentation, “Klan-Destine Relationships,” Davis seeks to establish a common ground to help force peace with even the most unlikely adversaries.

Carleton convocations are held from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m.; they are recorded and archived for online viewing here.

Personally driven by the need to understand those who, without ever having met him, hated him because of the color of his skin, Davis decided to seek out the roots of racism. Finding that the Klan was entrenched not only in the Deep South but in his own neighborhood, he set out to meet Roger Kelly, Imperial Wizard of the Invincible Empire Knights of the KKK. Through Kelly and others, Davis began to explore the Klan, gaining real insight into its workings and members’ minds.

The quest into the heart of ignorance and hatred gave Davis a ray of hope for harmony between races. His advice is: “Establish dialogue. When two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting.” David believes that after decades of violence and hatred, racism can be overcome if people take the time to get to know each other on a social basis, not under the cover of darkness. In 2005, Davis published a book, “Klan-Destine Relationships” (New Horizon Press) about his experience. He has appeared on television and radio on CNN, NBC, ABC, TLC and NPR, and published in The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. Davis is the recipient of numerous awards including the Elliott-Black Award from the American Ethical Union and the Bridge Builder Award from the Washington Ethical Society. Learn more on his personal website.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.