Episode 24, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube


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“(About joining the KKK) I just basically was interested in finding what I was looking for: a family...someplace to fit in.”

Today’s episode of Keep Talking features Scott Shepard, speaker, consultant and a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. During the conversation, Scott talks about his upbringing, why and how he joined the KKK, his rise in its hierarchy, the experiences that led him out of the organization, his relationship with Daryl Davis, and his message to the U.S. to combat racism and improve race relations.

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Time Stamps:

(00:00) Intro
(01:02) Get to know Scott Shepherd
(02:21) Scott’s backstory and how he got to where he is today
(05:00) How the innate desire to find a tribe got Scott involved with the white supremacist movement and the Ku Klux Klan
(07:37) Scott talks about choosing to join the KKK
(09:20) How the promise of a family and home led Scott to ultimately join the KKK
(12:46) Scott’s knowledge and impression of KKK before becoming a member
(14:03) Scott explains that he wasn’t aware of the violent nature of the KKK prior to joining the organization
(14:58) What Scott was told about the KKK when he joined them
(16:41) Coming across racist views and judgments during Scott’s time with the KKK
(18:05) The components that led Scott to connect with the KKK initially
(19:41) Scott talks about being raised in by a black woman
(24:13) Being intimately associated with an African-American and the risks of banishment from the KKK
(26:04) The 15-20 years Scott spent with the KKK and his growth within the group
(29:46) Did Scott ever truly believe the KKK’s ideology of racism?
(33:49) The objectives of the KKK
(37:59) Battling conflicting beliefs on culture and racism and how Scott faced them
(45:41) How Scott’s mind changed over the years, and why he decided to leave the KKK
(53:49) Scott’s process of exiting the KKK
(56:18) Did Scott ghost the KKK?
(56:59) Scott’s relationship with Daryl Davis and Daryl's influence on his life
(01:08:28) What about Daryl and Daryl's message changed Scott's mind?
(01:16:39) The best way to educate people on topics like racism
(01:22:59) What should you do to help the nation progress and encourage inclusion?
(01:27:00) Scott’s plans for the future


“(About joining the KKK) I just basically was interested in finding what I was looking for: a family...someplace to fit in.”

“I started having doubts. No, no, this is something I really, really don't want to be a part of anymore. And this is after I'd been in a number of years, and I didn't want to be involved in it anymore, because it was eating me up inside.”

“I found that the federal association members' head on one thing at a time was destruction and terrible violence. They wanted to hurt people and kill another.”

“Even though I didn't commit acts of violence, I grew rooted and just guilty for doing that... just (getting) people involved in violence itself.”

“We gotta look at each other as human beings.”

Relevant Links:

Documentary mentioned:

People mentioned (quotes from Wikipedia):

  • Daryl Davis - “Daryl Davis is an American R&B and blues musician, activist, author, actor, and bandleader. His efforts to fight racism, in which, as an African-American, he has engaged with members of the Ku Klux Klan, have convinced a number of Klansmen to leave and denounce the KKK.”
  • James Brown  - “James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer, and bandleader. The central progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music, he is often referred to by the honorific nicknames 'Godfather of Soul', 'Mr. Dynamite', and 'Soul Brother No. 1'.”
  • Martin Luther King - “Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.”
  • Dr. Bernice King - “Bernice Albertine King is an American minister and the youngest child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She was five years old when her father was assassinated.”

Connect with Scott:

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