Daryl Davis inspirational diversity speaker
Daryl Davis inspirational diversity speaker

Daryl Davis

Musician, Author, Internationally Acclaimed Conflict Navigator

Speaker Themes

  • Conversations That Ignite Change
  • Teamwork & Collaboration
  • Inspiration
  • Diversity
  • The Power of Civility
  • Bias
  • Building Trust
  • Organizational Culture
  • White Supremacy Issues
  • Race in America
  • The Power of Music

Travels from



Daryl Davis is committed to helping people ignite positive change – using conversation to build bridges.

His jaw-dropping experiences speak for themselves. For nearly 40 years, he’s engaged leaders of the KKK and White supremacist groups face to face to find the answer to a question: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”

That question stemmed from his first encounter with racism at age ten when he was pelted with rocks, bottles, and soda cans by a handful of White spectators while marching in a parade. Seeking to understand, not to change minds, Daryl met their hatred with civility, patience, and listening. Those conversations spawned genuine and lasting friendships with many who changed their own minds and disavowed hateful beliefs. Some even gave Daryl their robes and hoods when they did.

As a speaker, Daryl is an extraordinary storyteller who inspires and empowers audiences with tools they can use to make better workplaces, communities, and relations with family and friends. Daryl’s work is chronicled in his book Klan-Destine Relationships and the documentary Accidental Courtesy. Daryl’s TEDx talk has over 12 million views.

To book Daryl Davis as a speaker, contact leo@vbqspeakers.com.


Daryl’s speaking topics include:


Conversation can build bridges or walls. It’s up to us. Daryl Davis should know. The noted Black musician gained international acclaim by confronting, face to face, leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and other White supremacist groups who hate him simply for the color of his skin. Daryl’s was an effort to understand them, not to change minds, but those civil conversations forged unlikely and genuine friendships. Over time, many of his new friends changed their own minds and renounced their old beliefs. What can we learn from Daryl’s inspiring and jaw-dropping experiences?

Sample Takeaways:
• Apply universal tools to create positive change wherever conflict or disagreement exists
• Prepare: Understand the other person’s position and reasoning before you engage
• You needn’t respect what people say but you must respect their right to say it
• Learn to listen, understand, and keep emotions in check, even in incendiary situations
• How to recover/repair a relationship with a colleague, client, friend, or family member


“We spend too much time talking about the other person, talking at the other person, and talking past the other person. Amazing things can happen when we spend some time talking with the other person.” So says Daryl Davis, whose jaw-dropping experiences engaging KKK and White supremacist leaders hold lessons that inspire audiences to think differently about how they engage others who don’t share their views, backgrounds, religion, etc. The more we talk, the more we understand each other and discover what we have in common. That’s when the possibilities open up and the importance of our differences diminishes.

Sample Takeaways:
• Learn to build bridges and ignite positive change in the workplace, community, and at home
• Everyone wants the same 5 things – learn what they are and how they drive behavior
• Spend 5 minutes together and you will find things in common with even your worst enemy
• A missed opportunity for dialogue is a missed opportunity for conflict resolution
• The power of empathy – put yourself in the other person’s shoes


Daryl Davis has been studying and connecting with some of the biggest promulgators of white supremacy for nearly 40 years. He understands their fears and their quest for power. His expert opinion is routinely sought after by leading print, broadcast, and online news organizations. In this presentation, Daryl brings business leaders, law enforcement, policy-makers, educators, and average citizens up to speed by explaining where things stand right now and what can be done going forward. Daryl is the voice of knowledge, reason, and tranquility in uncertain, racially turbulent times.

Sample Takeaways:
• What is the threat of a race war?
• Understand the fear of “White genocide through miscegenation” and “the browning of America”
• Why the year 2042 is the white supremacists’ Y2K
• White Flight is over – everywhere you go, there’s already someone there who doesn’t look like you
• How to navigate a rapidly changing and more diverse society


At its inception, Rock ’n’ Roll was called “the devil’s music” by its detractors. Some cities banned it altogether. Rooted in Black R&B and Blues, its infectious beat led young people in the South to leap over the rope that segregated Whites from Blacks in the audience. The 1957, Chuck Berry lyric, “Deliver me from the days of old,” in his hit song School Days, celebrated the music as a turning point in race relations. Daryl brings that history forward into his own story, using music as a common denominator and proving that musical and racial harmony go hand-in-hand.

Sample Takeaways:
• How musical inspiration differs from musical appropriation
• The Elvis conundrum: How he was crowned King of a genre he didn’t create
• How Country and Blues are the same music, and why society separates them
• How a Black musical genre improved race relations and elected a Black president
• Why music is a cultural necessity and not a luxury

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