I had the distinct privilege of interviewing this distinguished author/musician/actor/lecturer who has won the hearts and Imperial Wizard hoods of human beings that he helped rescue from the clutches of hatred and intolerance. If Daryl Davis can find common ground with a group like the KKK, what does this mean for the rest of us? Let’s find out.
PULP: Mr. Davis, having immersed yourself in the KKK to research your book (Klandestine Relations), at which point did you feel like you were the most in danger?
Davis: These occasions [of danger] occurred when one Klansman who agreed to be interviewed by me was expecting a white man and I showed up instead. The other was a retaliation attack on me in which some KKK members were upset because one of their own had been sentenced to prison for 15 years for Assault With Intent To Murder a black man. I was present at the sentencing and those particular members who came in support of their own could not believe that a white judge would have the audacity to convict a white man for a crime against a black man. Upon leaving the court after the sentencing, I was attacked as retaliation and had to defend myself. Fortunately, I won physically…and legally when I took them to court.
PULP: During your lecture at Pueblo Community College, you had mentioned that the Imperial Wizard of the KKK (Roger Kelly) and yourself actually had issues that you agreed upon. This is an intriguing statement. Initially, what were these issues?
Davis: We both felt that something had to be done to get drugs off the street. We both wanted better education for kids in schools, essentially the same things you and I would probably agree upon. If you agree on those things, you too would have something in common with Mr. Kelly. I would focus on these commonalities and build my relationship upon them. It was easy to find many non-racial things that we had in common. I would point them out. As those things increased and he saw a part of himself in me, over a period of time, those things of which we had in contrast mattered less and less to him.
PULP: It is no secret that we are going through quite turbulent and divided political times in our country. With your experience, do you have any advice on how to find common ground with someone that who may consider you a political or religious enemy (the ugly opposition)?
Davis: We spend so much time forming groups containing people with whom we share a common interest. There is nothing wrong with that. However we should invite those with whom we do not have a common interest to address our group and explain their opposition to us firsthand. This is how we learn and thus how we can develop solutions. In using this method, there is a great chance that our adversary will reciprocate by taking the time to listen to our points of view as well.
PULP: What is next for Daryl Davis (author/musician/actor/lecturer)? Where can the interested Pueblonian obtain your books and music?
PULP Thank You, Daryl, for your work!