NC man defends slavery at CPAC

Posted March 15, 2013
Updated March 16, 2013

A North Carolina man was all over online media Friday night after arguing at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland that slavery gave "shelter and food" to slaves.

The statements by Scott Terry were made during a CPAC panel session aimed at improving conservatives' outreach among minority voters. 

According to ThinkProgress, a left-wing blog that was the first to report the flap, Terry asked conservative African-American presenter K. Carl Smith whether Republicans could endorse racial separatism.


"It seems to me that you're reaching out to voters that might fit the program you're speaking of at the expense of young, white, Southern males like myself," Terry told Smith in the video provided by ThinkProgress.

"I feel like my people – my demographic, people like myself – are being systematically disenfranchised," Terry said. 

Smith answered Terry's question by telling him that Frederick Douglass wrote a letter to his former master "and said to him, I forgive you for all the things you did to me."

"For giving him shelter and food?" Terry asked Smith. 

Some in the audience laughed. Others cheered and clapped.

According to ThinkProgress:

After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “Why can’t we just have segregation?” He noted the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association.

When asked by ThinkProgress if he’d accept a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites, he said, “I’d be fine with that.” He also claimed that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa” and that “all the tea parties” were concerned with the same racial problems that he was.

At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”

He claimed to be a direct descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Smith, the presenter, released a statement to TPM late Friday saying that, despite "some racially insensitive comments," Terry later came to understand Smith's point and the two "left as friends."

Smith also said an African-American reporter caused even more disruption at the panel when she "rudely interrupted" him with questions.

The story caught fire on left-leaning sites but quickly reached mainstream outlets like Gawker and Wonkette.


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • 7thwifeofhenryviii Mar 18, 2013

    The irony of a conference discussion on how to attract minorities to the Republican Party involved persons attending it defending slavery. For those who claim this man is a democrat plant- keep telling yourselves that. Just like all the right wing polls y'all insisted were right & Obama would lose the election. Live in that bubble of ignorant bliss, go on. Just now that the world is constantly popping the bubble and that bubble is setting smaller and smaller. The demographics of this country & its youth will prove you to be on the wrong side if history.

  • 7thwifeofhenryviii Mar 18, 2013

    Ah, of course the slavery defender has to be from NC! What is truly sad is that the ONE person who argued against the guy defending slavery was BOOED! the one reasonable person who raises other concerns and brought forth ideas was BOOED!!!
    This is the Republican Party of today!

  • Spock Mar 18, 2013

    Ask yourself... are we really any better off than the early 1950's? Probably not - increases in crime, inflation and government spending beyond control, there are no morals left in society - and certainly no responsibility for your own actions.

  • Terkel Mar 18, 2013

    "Oh, please...NO ONE in the Democratic party would speak in favor of slavery."

    Unless one just did, while calling himself a Republican. Dems are no strangers to dirty pool.

  • bubbaredneck Mar 18, 2013

    This guy was an unmentionable type of character not a consevative or republican i don't care what he called himself!! If you want to talk race, the republican party has placed Black people or people of color or whatever they want to be called today in higher offices than the democrats! The democrats just keep them under their thumb where they want them. Either you are American or not it's that simple! I wish they would even take the color or ethnicity off of job applications. I am not a racist only a realist. And the real thing about it is i had nothing to do with slavery and i am tired of hearing about who owes who what! Heck, my traceable family came over as slaves on a viking ship from Norway. You don't see me complaining about all that mess! I work to get what i want! If i complained about it every time i had a chance people would be tired of hearing about it too!!!!!

  • djofraleigh Mar 18, 2013

    The republicans can't help shooting themselves in the foot.

    The history of the Democratic Party is racist, especially in NC.
    The history of the Republican Party is conservative.

    The republicans are conservative, little change, little government except for military -- the party of the rich business class & land holders (farmers).

    The real divide is Urban vs Rural ...Democrats are city people. Look at the county voting maps red v blue.

    The Democrats are the party of change, government as the solution to problems, with unified segments of the poor, civil rights progression, gay rights, pro-abortion, unions, etc.

    Many people today are independent minded, leaning to republicans fiscally, and to democrats socially.

    Most people are not involved in party doings other than a small contribution and by voting on party lines.

  • Grand Union Mar 18, 2013

    "All these folks rapping the Republicans for this. The National Socialists need to step back and look at history--it was--gulp, gulp, the Democracts who enforced slavery and the Jim Crow laws for how many decades????"

    That was the Dixiecrats........the Democrats of the south joined the GOP when it swung to to the far right during the Reagan era.
    Yes the pre civil rights era Democratic party in the south were appalling but they are not todays Democrats.

  • Grand Union Mar 18, 2013

    At last, a GOP member admits what his party really wants.
    Lincoln must be spinning in his grave at how low they have dragged his party.

  • corgimom06 Mar 18, 2013

    The problem here isn't that this guy has some backwards views. The problem is that the crowd clapped and cheered someone saying a slave should thank the person that 'owns' him for food and shelter. If the GOP wants people to stop calling them racists and bigots then when one of your own gets up and says something like this, instead of encouraging them, you need to tell them they are wrong and these are not the kind of ideas that your party is okay with. It's people like this, the birthers, attacking women's health care choices, opposing Obama on EVERYTHING because it came from Obama, attacking immigrants, and being intolerant of anyone who isn’t' a Xtian that are backing the GOP into a corner where they have to gerrymander votes in order to win an election. I like a lot of conservative fiscal ideas but I could never support a party with such arcane social ideas.

  • Ken D. Mar 18, 2013

    "Who was it that opposed the Civil Rights movement???"

    It was the Dixiecrats, who left the Democratic Party rather than support its commitment to civil rights. Now those folks are the heart and soul of the Republican Party.