A black man was able to independently tear down chunks of the Ku Klux Klan from the inside by building relationships with Klan members.
By just being an all-round good guy, Daryl Davis persuaded around 200 white supremacists to leave the disconcerting organisation.
The 58-year-old blues artist from Chicago has spent thirty years journeying around the USA, penetrating the racist cult and befriending its followers.
He has since documented his amazing assignment in a book, wonderfully named ‘Klan-destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan’.
For instance, Daryl recollected meeting a Grand Dragon – an important Klan member – called Roger Kelly, in Maryland.
‘I was very well prepared for the meeting in terms of knowledge of my topic,’ Daryl said. ‘I have just about every book written on the Klan and I’ve read them all.
‘In fact, I know more about the KKK than most Klan members know about their own organisation.
‘Awareness, information, wit, and the way you distribute these attributes can often prove to be a more disarming weapon alongside an enemy or someone with whom your ideology is in war than violence or guns.
‘I was heavily armed with those attributes. I had been told by someone who knew him very well, that Roger Kelly would kill me. I felt confident without any physical weapon that I would prevail. Fortunately, I proved it true.’
Actually, he was so effective in Maryland that the KKK branch there is fundamentally non-existent, with approximately four people turning up to gatherings ‘and two of them are drunk’.
But as you can envision for such a ferocious, poisonous group, people have seldom been so progressive.
‘There have been some incidents in which I was threatened and a couple of instances where I had to actually fight,’ Daryl said. ‘Fortunately, I won in both instances.
‘These things happen from time to time, but it is to be anticipated, because you are dealing with someone who hates you and wants to be violent just because of the colour of your skin.
‘Some of them are absolutely repulsed when they see a black person and want to hurt them.
‘At the core of it, although they won’t at first admit it, they express superiority, but truly feel inferiority and in order to elevate themselves, they have to push someone else down.’
Even then, he explained, the risk is still worth it.
‘It’s a wonderful thing when you see a light bulb pop on in their heads or they call you and tell you they are quitting,’ he said. ‘I never set out to convert anyone in the Klan.
‘I just set out to get an answer to my question: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”‘