Philadelphia, PA – A famous blues pianist and anti-racism activist was called a “white supremacist” by antifa protesting outside a conference about ending racism.
Daryl Davis, 61, is renowned for de-radicalizing Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leaders by forming friendships with them and convincing the white supremacists to leave the hateful organization.
Davis, an African American, grew up all over the world as the child of an American diplomat, The Washington Post reported.
He didn’t personally experience racism until his family returned to the United States, but when he learned what was going on in his own country, Davis made it his mission in life to bring people together.
And so he set out to do so through music.
Davis became an accomplished blues pianist who played with Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, among other notables, The Washington Post reported.
He used music as a means to bridge a racial gap and said that people who were generally prejudiced against non-whites treated him differently because he was a musician.
Davis spent years meeting with famous KKK leaders and being photographed with them, according to The Washington Post.
He carries a KKK membership coin that declares him in good standing with the organization.
Davis’ book “Klan-Destine Relationships: A Black Man's Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan” was published in 1998 as the result of years of research into the secretive organization.
The musician is credited with having convinced at least 12 major KKK players to leave the fold, and 11 of them gave him their robes when they disavowed the organization, The Washington Post reported.
On Aug. 31, Davis headlined the MindsIRL “Ending Racism” conference in Philadelphia, an event billed as an opportunity to engage “honestly with others in open dialogue about the topics which divide us” to “help bridge the divide and create a path to a healthier country,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The event was supposed to have been held at the Broadway Theatre in Pitman, New Jersey, but was moved to Philadelphia after protesters threatened to burn down the venue.
Antifa showed up to protest the anti-racism event, causing much consternation and snark on social media after they labeled Davis a “white supremacist.”
Davis posted his own incredulous account of the events to his Facebook page.
"You want to hear a good one? True story. I have been to 56 different countries on 6 continents, played in 15 foreign countries and played in 49 of our 50 U.S. States," his post started.
“In between gigs I have spent 30+ years talking with Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, White Supremacists, White Separatists, Black Supremacists, Black Separatists, Alt Right members and just about every other group you can imagine with a superiority complex,” Davis wrote. “The purpose of which, is bring some reconciliation amongst different ideological groups to reduce violence and racism and bring about a sense of normalcy and civility among my fellow Americans.”
“For my efforts, many of which have been successful, I have been called a nigger, a porch monkey, a pavement ape, by racists, an Uncle Tom, an Uncle Ruckus, an Oreo, a race traitor, a sellout, both a pimp and a prostitute, by some of those who look like me and who claim to despise racism. When you add it all up, I've been just about called every name but my own name,” he continued.
“In my 61 years on this Earth, I've seen a lot and I've heard a lot,” the activist asserted. “But a few nights ago I was called something I could not imagine being called in a million years. I was part of a panel in Philadelphia, assembled by the conference organizers to discuss ways to de-escalate racism, antisemitism and violence in our country.”
“Meanwhile, a group known as Antifa (short for /Anti- Facist) [sic], threatened to do violence to the conference organizers and panel speakers and burn down the building where we were to speak. Despite the threats, we had a very successful conference. We celebrated with an after-party in a room filled with people from all walks of life and every political persuasion from MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters to supporters of those at the opposite end of the Make America Great Again people and everyone in between on the spectrum. We ALL got along fantastically,” Davis explained.
“Meanwhile, the police department shut down the streets surrounding the site of the party as a crowd of about 40 Antifa members gathered outside the building to protest, accusing the speakers and organizers of being racist,” he continued.
“We invited the Antifa members to come in a join the party and have an opportunity to talk with us. They refused,” the musician wrote. “I thought I had seen and heard it all in my 61 years and nothing would surprise me, but I was mistaken. Now are you ready for this? The Antifa people called me a White Supremacist. What??? Are you kidding me??? Wow!!! That's right, you heard me!!! They called ME, a White Supremacist. Now, I KNOW I've heard it all. It's good to be colorblind sometimes, but this is ridiculous!!!”
“That threw me for a loop,” Davis said. “I scratched my head for a second, trying to make sense of this strangely misconceived insult. But all I could do was laugh. I literally even laughed all the way back to DC on my flight the next morning. The plane wasn't crowded and I had a whole row to myself. The other passengers must have thought I was crazy. I hope my sharing this with you allows you to find some humor as well. Next time someone calls you a name, think bout this, and just laugh you’re a-- off.”