A First Timer’s View of an American Renaissance Conference

Wilburn Sprayberry, American Renaissance, March 20, 2012

A weekend of fellowship and inspiration.

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.

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Wilburn Sprayberry
Mr. Sprayberry is a 6th-generation Texan, ex-Army officer, school teacher, and backpacker, now looking for his third career.
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  • JohnEngelman

    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.                                                                                                                  
    – Gerald Martin, American Renaissance, March 20, 2012   

    I am glad Courtney is still involved with American Renaissance. She has not been posting here for awhile, and complained that this website had become an unfriendly environment for her.

  • An excellent attender’s-eye-view of the conference, Gerald. Wish I had been there. The next conference, whenever and wherever it is, I pledge to do my best to attend it.

    • geraldmartin

      I look forward to seeing you there, Wayne. The first round is on me.

  • Utopian


    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.”

    I think anyone in their 20s (maybe even 21) who would attend a conference where the average age is about 50 and the topic is non-trendy is going to be very socially awkward.  These young guns are probably too weird to ever assume a leadership role in the movement.

    • geraldmartin

      “…anyone in their 20s…who would attend a conference where the average age is about 50 and the topic is non-trendy is going to be very socially awkward. These young guns are probably too weird to ever assume a leadership role in the movement.”

      Interesting bit of stereotyping. Kind of like, “White nationalists are un-educated,  knuckle-dragging, mutants.” 

      I can only report what I observed. In social graces, the young people I spoke with at the AR conference compare favorably with the Young Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom I have encountered over the years.  Perhaps their idealism and willingness to risk their future careers does make them appear “awkward” in some sense, but that’s an awkwardness to be admired, not scorned. 

      And not one of the young people I met seemed “weird” in any way. 

      • And not one of the young people I met seemed “weird” in any way.

        The only thing “weird” about them is that they’re interested in political activism, which is a niche calling anyway.  They aren’t any less “weird” than their older counterparts in the same room.  Activist politics has its share of weird personalities because activist politics are by definition weird, and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense.

      • Utopian

        It’s a stereotype for sure but as we know here stereotypes are most of the time to some extent worthwhile observations.  

        I don’t think the Young Republican crowd totally overlaps in terms of personalities.  If I ask myself, can this kid ever become a real estate developer?, I believe some of the young ones at Republican events (especially those mixing Christian social conservatism) could definitely have a pure leadership role like a developer.  The ones in their 20s going to an Amren conference: no way at all.  

        • geraldmartin

          I’ve been surprised by some of the adults that apparently unpromising children, or 20 somethings (in our society, 20 somethings are seldom full-blown adults) have grown into. Surprised in a positive way, that is.

          My impression of YRs has generally been that of young hustlers on the make, with their eyes on the main chance & a future lobbying  job on K Street. The insincerity of many – in true devotion to any particular  poltical cause – is transparent.  You’re right, they might make good real estate developers. Or at least make lots of money at it.

          In contrast, most idealists,  like the young folk at the Amren conference, are naive to some degree, and must go through a school of hard knocks before becoming prime leadership material.

          I am optimistic that many of these young people will do precisely that.

    • Anyone in their twenties going to a political function are going knowing full well that politics are old people’s games.  They expect to be the youngest people in the room, so they don’t feel socially awkward because they go into the even with eyes wide open.  After all, they’re there for politics, not a class reunion.

      Been there, done that.

  • geraldmartin

    Alan,  all of the speeches were recorded for DVD sales. There was also a Brazilian team making a documentary there.  AR has DVDs from previous conferences for sale through their website, and NPI has some downloads of the speeches at their conference last September. 

  • geraldmartin

    Rusty,

    I think many people DO “get” what Kurtagic has been saying. At the NPI conference his was the most enthusiastically received speech, the only one to earn a spontaneous standing ovation. His speech last week got another standing O. However, some of his ideas are rather subtle, especially about the importance of aesthetics, and the irrelevance of conservatism. This is hard to understand, or accept, for many of the older people present, at least on a level beneath the surface. Alex connects with younger people better. His message is also un-abashedly intellectual, which turns some off.  What our movement does seem to lack at the moment are leaders who can take Kurtagic’s ideas and translate them into street level activism – tangible, hands-on kinds of products and methods we can use to win more recruits.  But I think we are making progress in that direction.

  • I wish I could have gone — I was on a business trip in Kansas City.  The conference was a five hour drive from home (St. Louis) for me, and I would have gone but for work.

    Actually, considering what the far left goony birds did to our last two conferences, and the state of our economy, 150 is a great turnout.

    As for your other suggestions, I tweet every AR story every day.  That’s actually something every AR regular who is on Twitter should be doing, because some of the people you follow who will read your tweets will wind up retweeting that if the subject matter interests them, and they’ll do it even if they’re not overtly racial or WNs like us.

  • geraldmartin

    Robert,

    Glad you were there. Sorry I didn’t meet you. There are two big reasons for the low numbers, “only” 150. First, the conference was shut-down two years in a row by left-wing thugs and hotel management cowardice (plus the refusal of the police to get involved). This destroyed the confidence of a lot of people in AR’s ability to have a conference at all (especially those who had bought airline tickets and set aside  time  from work) and this year many had a “wait and see” attitude.  Second, the remote conference site this year (though beautiful) was inconvenient compared to a  city location. I don’t know if they’ll get back to a city any time soon, but after this successful “rebuilding” year, I expect at least 100 more people next year.  And maybe a lot more than that.

  • Wayne Lo

    Interestingly I read a few years ago that Mr Taylor was quite the cassanova around the Japanese ladies.

    He was actually questioned by a journalist over this during his visit to Halifax, Canada, and Mr Taylor lost his composure.

    There was also a rumoured infidelity with a Japanese lady surnamed Akisada, if I remember rightly.

    It seems hypocrisy abounds in the WN movement. I would hardly imagine
    the WN crowd being so forgiving of a white women who slept round with
    black men.