McLean Community Center MLK Day events led by musician who convinces KKK members to leave

Musician and activist Daryl Davis will speak and perform for the McLean Community Center’s 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration (courtesy MCC)

The McLean Community Center is bringing back in-person festivities for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

After limiting last year’s celebration to online activities, MCC will expand it this year across two separate days with a pair of events led by musician and activist Daryl Davis, who is known for befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan and convincing them to leave the hate group.

“Our anchor staff members have been instrumental in celebrating the legacy of Dr. King for over 15 years at our center,” MCC Director Daniel Singh said in a statement. “In many ways, their pioneering work anticipated the trajectory of awareness and need for dialogue around our country’s troubled founding and current systemic disparities around race. Our MLK celebrations also closely align with our board of directors’ commitment to diversity in the McLean community.”

The weekend will start with the Daryl Davis Band performing at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14. Concert tickets will cost $20 for MCC district residents and $30 for other community members.

Davis will then return to MCC’s Alden Theatre at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 to discuss his experiences talking to KKK members as a Black man. Tickets for the speech are $5 for district residents and $10 for the rest of the public.

Here is more on Davis from the community center’s news release:

Davis is a boogie-woogie pianist who has played with the likes of B. B. King, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. On Friday, he and his band will kick off MCC’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with an evening of R&B and blues. This is the music that opened the door for Klansmen to befriend Davis, a Black man, and eventually, hang up their robes.

“Davis’ piano work impresses with his winning combination of technique and abandon, and his vocals are strong and assured – black rock’n’roll lives!” — Living Blues Magazine

On Sunday, Davis will share his captivating journey to untangle racism, one civil conversation at a time. He was playing in a country band when he met and became friends with a Ku Klux Klan member. Over the last 30 years, he has continued to befriend Klansmen and collect their robes after they leave the organization. He is the author of “Klan-Destine Relationships,” a book that details his encounters.

Like other Fairfax County government facilities, MCC still requires face masks for everyone inside its building at 1234 Ingleside Avenue.

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