Blues Musician to Discuss Encounters with the KKK at Purcellville Forum

As more than just an accomplished blues musician, one man is striving to eliminate racial prejudice one person at a time.

Daryl Davis will be giving a “Healing the Divide” talk on his encounters with Ku Klux Klan members at Purcellville’s St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. Davis, who performed a concert at the church last month, will discuss his experiences engaging with and helping to change the hearts and minds of more than 200 KKK members.

“From his concert we learned what an engaging, warm and winning presence Daryl has,” said Pastor David Milam. “In person, one gets to know how he is a ‘healer of the divide.’”

Milam said his church especially is encouraging middle and high school students to attend the event to learn more about the Civil Rights movement and the racial prejudice that continues to exist in schools and communities today.

Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES, the Tikva Foundation, the Loudoun County Chapter of the NAACP and the Loudoun County Clergy Group are sponsoring the free event as part of the “Loudoun Love Your Neighbor Orange Ribbon Campaign.”

Davis’ mission to reach out to white supremacists began after playing a show at a bar in Frederick, MD, when a patron said that he had never heard a black man play with the style of Jerry Lee Lewis. When Davis mentioned that Lewis learned his music from black men like himself, his journey began. Because the patron at the bar was in the KKK, Davis was able to meet and talk with hundreds of other klan members.

Over the years Davis has played music with Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Bruce Hornsby and Jerry Lee Lewis. He has since written a book titled “Klan-Destined Relationships” and was featured in the PBS documentary “Accidental Courtesy.”

Register for Tuesday’s program here.

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