Posted on March 20, 2012

A First Timer’s View of an American Renaissance Conference

Wilburn Sprayberry, American Renaissance, March 20, 2012

I attended the 2012 American Renaissance Conference, which was held this past weekend, March 16–18. I would like to tell those who wanted to go but were unable to attend, those who are considering attending in the future, as well as those who have their doubts about the whole thing, what it was like.

This was my first AR conference. I had registered for last year’s conference in Charlotte which was canceled due to thuggish intimidation from the enemies of free speech, and the spinelessness of hotel management. But I went to Charlotte anyway and attended the “shadow conference” organized by Matt Parrott and Jaenelle Antas. This small-scale but inspiring event provided a tantalizing glimpse of what a full-scale AR conference might be like, so I was determined not to miss this year’s affair.

To ensure our rights of free speech and assembly would be protected, the 2012 conference was held at the Montgomery Bell State Park Inn and Conference Center, a government property located about 40 miles west of Nashville, in central Tennessee. It was a good choice. The modern facility is a glass, stone and brick structure–very pleasing to the eye–overlooking a lake and set amidst rolling wooded hills. The staff was friendly and efficient, and my room was quite comfortable, with a nice view of the lake. I arrived in the early afternoon on Friday and after a quick workout in the fitness room began meeting other conference goers.

Almost immediately, it felt more like a family reunion — with blood relatives I had not met before — than a formal, academically oriented conference with strangers from all over the United States and Europe. Virtually everyone was warm and friendly — and interesting. I was soon engrossed in conversations with doctors, professors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, teachers, college students and retirees. These people had come to the conference for the same reason I had: a concern for the future of our people and our civilization. The camaraderie was instant and intense.

The formal part of the conference, from Friday’s reception and welcome by Jared Taylor through the speeches over the next two days and Mr. Taylor’s concluding remarks on Sunday, has already been well described by Henry Wolff. To that I will add a few personal observations about the speakers and my experiences.

Although all the speakers were interesting, and often entertaining, I had several favorites: Robert Weissburg, for his puckish humor and practical advice on how to use the hypocrisy and implicit racism of the Left to keep our communities white–implicitly, but effectively; Alex Kurtagic, for his fiery demand that we must be creators of a new, better, Western man, not mere defenders of the old, flawed version–still beloved by “mainstream” conservatives — which is bringing us closer to destruction each day; and David Yeagley, whose unique perspective as a Comanche Indian lent special punch to his message for the white race: Man up!

But despite the high quality of the speakers, the best part of the conference for me was the fellowship I’ve already described, plus the opportunity to meet people I’ve come to know and admire on the internet. I was delighted to meet in person Courtney, a strong-willed and beautiful young woman from Alabama who is one of the fixtures of the Council of Conservative Citizens’ chat room. I had a chance to talk with James Edwards, the dynamic and charismatic host of The Political Cesspool radio show, whom I had met once before. And I finally got to meet James’ co-host, the great Keith Alexander, whose “take no prisoners” commentary and exposés of what really happened during the civil-rights movement make him–as James often says–a national treasure.

On Saturday night, long after the last speech, I found myself deep in conversation with some of the “young guns” of our movement, many of whom were college students or recent graduates. The idealism, intensity, and intelligence of these young people were inspiring and filled me with hope for the future.

It’s difficult to sum up exactly what it was like to finally attend an AmRen conference, but I’ll give it a try. I like to hike, camp, and climb mountains. Sometimes, after a long, hard day, through hail and snow and slippery rocks, the hiker comes to a point where the air is especially clean, the view is especially glorious, and the feeling of accomplishment is especially satisfying–where he feels like he has done a good thing.

That’s the feeling I have after attending the 2012 AR conference.