Independent Lens: Accidental Courtesy

About This Episode


Daryl Davis is an accomplished musician, a piano player who has played all over the world with legends like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry. He also has an unusual and controversial hobby: Daryl likes to meet and befriend members of the KKK, many of whom have never met a black person. When some of these same people decide to leave the Klan, Daryl keeps their robes and hoods - building his collection piece by piece, story by story, person by person.

Born in Chicago in 1958, Davis had a unique childhood. The son of a Foreign Service officer, he traveled the world, attended an international school, and assumed that all kids grew up with friends of different nationalities, races, and religions. It wasn’t until his family returned to the States that he suddenly and personally felt the sting of racism. After graduating from college with a degree in music, Daryl hit the road, performing his unique style of boogie-woogie with a range of musical greats, a lifestyle that brought him into contact with all kinds of people and led him on a journey to question and confront racism, one racist at a time.

Accidental Courtesy is the portrait of a man who has spent a lifetime pursuing an answer to the question, "How can you hate me when you don't even know me?"