Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America
Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America

This February, PBS’s INDEPENDENT LENS will present two remarkable new films – Birth of a Movement by Susan Gray and Bestor Cram and Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America by Matt Ornstein.

Birth of a Movement (February 6) chronicles the African American protests that greeted the 1915 premiere of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (which led to a resurgence of the Klan) while Accidental Courtesy (February 13) fast-forwards 100 years to the present where we meet musician Daryl Davis who is on an unusual, one-man mission to combat racism — by befriending Klan members.

Birth of a Movement by Susan Gray and Bestor Cram (February 6)
When D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation opened in 1915, the unrepentantly racist film was met with widespread protests by African Americans, led by W.M. Trotter, the Harvard-educated African American editor of Boston’s The Guardian newspaper. The film, which would lead to a national resurgence of the KKK, unleashed a battle still waging today about the first amendment, censorship, race relations and representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood. Featuring Spike Lee, Reginald Hudlin, Jelani Cobb, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and others.

Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America by Matt Ornstein (February 13)
Musician Daryl Davis has a peculiar passion — meeting and befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan in an attempt to change their minds. In his travels, he’s collected robes and other artifacts from men who have left the Klan after meeting him, building a collection story-by-story, person-by-person. In Accidental Courtesy, we follow Daryl across the country as he meets with current and former Klan members, as well as young black activists who question his unusual form of racial reconciliation.

Share this article ...