Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Racism renounced: A Black man talks with white supremacists

Man standing in front of a SXSW backdrop

Daryl Davis

Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW

Acclaimed musician and recording artist Daryl Davis has interviewed hundreds of Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacists – and influenced many of them to renounce their racist ideology.

In the latest episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground,” we hear his brave and remarkable story. Davis’s personal quest began many years ago, after a concert when he was in a country music band.


After one of his rock and R&B performances, a man told Davis it was the first time he’d seen a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Davis explained the Black origin of Lewis’s style, and the man became a fan. Turns out, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This led to Daryl becoming the first Black author to interview KKK leaders and members, detailed in his book, “Klan-Destine Relationships.” Today, Davis owns numerous Klan robes and hoods, given to him by active members who renounced their racist ideology after meeting him.

His documentary film, "Accidental Courtesy", features his process of conversation and understanding to bridge differences and promote racial reconciliation.

Davis earned a degree in jazz and tours nationally and internationally with The Daryl Davis Band. He has worked with Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires, The Legendary Blues Band, and many others. As a race reconciliator and lecturer, Davis has received numerous awards and is often sought by CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and other media outlets as a consultant on race relations and white supremacy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Daryl is also an actor with stage and screen credits. He appeared in the critically acclaimed HBO police drama “The Wire.”

Read More

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer testifies at the Democratic National Convention in 1964.

Bettmann/Getty Images

60 years later, it's time to restart the Freedom Summer

Johnson is a United Methodist pastor, the author of "Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community" and program director for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.

Sixty years have passed since Freedom Summer, that pivotal season of 1964 when hundreds of young activists descended upon an unforgiving landscape, driven by a fierce determination to shatter the chains of racial oppression. As our nation teeters on the precipice of another transformative moment, the echoes of that fateful summer reverberate across the years, reminding us that freedom remains an unfinished work.

At the heart of this struggle stood Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper's daughter whose voice thundered like a prophet's in the wilderness, signaling injustice. Her story is one of unyielding defiance, of a spirit that the brutal lash of bigotry could not break. When Hamer testified before the Democratic National Convention in 1964, her words, laced with the pain of beatings and the fire of righteous indignation, laid bare the festering wound of racial terror that had long plagued our nation. Her resilience in the face of such adversity is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

Keep ReadingShow less
Male and female gender symbols
Hreni/Getty Images

The Montana Legislature tried, and failed, to define sex

Nelson is a retired attorney and served as an associate justice of the Montana Supreme Court from 1993 through 2012.

In 2023, the Montana State Legislature passed a bill, signed into law by the governor, that defined sex and sexuality as being either, and only, male or female. It defined “sex” in the following manner: “In human beings, there are exactly two sexes, male and female with two corresponding gametes.” The law listed some 41 sections of the Montana Code that need to be revised based on this definition.

Keep ReadingShow less
two Black people wrapped in an American flag
Raul Ortin/Getty Images

July Fourth: A bittersweet reminder of a dream deferred

Juste is a researcher at the Movement Advancement Project and author of the reportFreedom Under Fire: The Far Right's Battle to Control America.”

“Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.”
— Langston Hughes, I Too

On the Fourth of July we celebrated many things: our nation’s independence, our democracy and the opportunity to gather with loved ones who, ideally, embrace us for who we are. Yet, this same nation does not always make room for us to live freely for who we are, who we love, what we look like and how we pray. And it is this dissonance that renders the Fourth of July’s celebration a bittersweet reminder of a dream deferred for many of us.

Keep ReadingShow less
Campus building with university flag

University of Oklahoma

Oklahoma women robbed of critical resources, entry point into politics

Stacey is a political science professor and program coordinator for political science at Rose State College. Stacey is a member of Scholars Strategy Network.

The University of Oklahoma’s recent decision to shutter a longstanding program intended to encourage, empower and educate female Oklahoma college students to pursue civic and political service careers has deeply unsettled me.

I am upset by the abrupt end to this invaluable program, both as a 2007 alumna of the National Education for Women’s Leadership program and a political science professor who has written recommendation letters and successfully sent at least two students to the program in my last decade of teaching.

The Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center has coordinated and hosted the NEW Leadership program since its inception in 2002, making me one of the elder graduates of a program that is critical to fostering Oklahoma’s future female political leaders.

Keep ReadingShow less
Ten Commandments

Some states are requiring public spaces include displays of the Ten Commandments.

Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The danger of mandating the sacred: A Christian cleric's plea

Johnson is a United Methodist pastor, the author of "Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community" and program director for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.

As an African American Christian cleric, I am deeply troubled by the recent legislative mandates from states like Oklahoma and Louisiana. New laws, passed under the guise of promoting religious freedom and moral values, require Christian biblical education and the display of the Ten Commandments in public spaces. While I believe in the power and wisdom of Scripture, I fear we are misapplying God's commandments to serve man's commands.

Keep ReadingShow less