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Black conservatives say voice 'growing' at Atlanta summit

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 9:56 AM
Last updated 6:14 PM
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ATLANTA -- The theme of the daylong Georgia Black Conservative Summit, “our voice, here and growing,” seemed to fit the mood of the participants.

About 50 folks from across the state gathered Thursday for a conference sponsored by The Frederick Douglass Foundation, the Conservative Alliance and the Georgia Black Republican Council.

Like most conferences, the networking during breaks was as constructive as the formal discussions. Old friends hugged, and new acquaintances swapped business cards. All appeared to gather strength just from the assurance they were not alone.

Not all of the participants were black. Some, like Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Revenue Commissioner Doug MacGinnitie offered insights and connections to the inside of the official government these conservatives want to change.

Much of the discussion sounded like any other gathering of conservatives. Peppered with jokes about liberals and union bashing, the topics ranged from education to juvenile justice, and they offered the opportunity for the audience to ask specific questions of academics, activists and policy analysts.

Such gatherings are common at the Capitol when the legislature is in session. At the same moment the black conservatives were meeting in a committee-hearing room, 2,000 enthusiasts were holding a rally across the street on the Capitol steps for Disability Day. The next day, a press conference on gun control drew dozens of President Barack Obama’s former campaign volunteers back together for a new cause, to advance his legislative agenda.

But it was the 15th annual Disability Day, and the echo of the most expensive, most sophisticated national campaign that pulled those groups together in such strength. By contrast, it was just the second time the black conservative summit had been held, and the numbers reflected that.

The fact that it was held at all may surprise some people who pooh-poohed the blacks showcased at last year’s Republican National Convention as mere window dressing. Many at the summit had the scars to proof their sincerity.

Dr. Deborah Honeycutt, for example, lost her bid to upset Congressman David Scott, a black Democrat, but offered no regrets.

“The message does get out, even if you don’t win,” she said. “Unless you start, there will not be others who recognize the goodness of basic, conservative values.”

Melvin Everson told of how a conversation with another parent chaperoning a school trip to Washington led to encouragement to run for local office in 1994. After that first race for Snellville City Council ended in defeat, he got appointed to a city board before running again unsuccessfully.

After multiple defeats in 10 years, he finally won election to the General Assembly in an overwhelmingly white, conservative district where he served until losing his statewide quest for labor commissioner two years ago.

He recommended continual engagement.

“As conservatives, we cannot wait until six months before an election to be out in the community,” he said.

Other officials told similar stories of repeated election losses before finally winning. Even success comes with pain.

“You lose friends in politics,” said Tim Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation and the first black vice chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. “You lose a lot of friends in politics. You lose relatives.”

One of the panelists, Michael McNeely, president of the Georgia Black Republican Council, was still nursing some bruises received the week before when he was shouldered out of the Douglas County delegation to the state GOP convention. Ironically, he had just met with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus about ways to attract more blacks to the party when local party officials shut him out.

Darryl Wilson, founder of the summit, is pleased with its growth.

“The event has doubled in size since its inaugural opening in 2012 as Georgians flock to the Capitol to have a bigger impact in government and its impact on small business and the community,” he says in a press release.

The evidence of whatever that impact may be won’t be felt immediately. Neither will the impact of Disability Day or the Obama supporters and their Organizing for Action.

But since one hand clapping makes no sound, the fact that these groups gather together at all signals the beginning of applause that may grow to thunderous levels over time.

Comments (8) Add comment
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double_standard
166
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double_standard 02/23/13 - 06:16 pm
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0
I wonder how many people will

I wonder how many people will call this group racist.

Little Lamb
45398
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Little Lamb 02/23/13 - 06:21 pm
3
0
Uphill

I salute you, Dr. Deborah Honeycutt. Thank you for fighting the good fight, and I know it was uphill all the way. Liberals are cruel to black conservatives, using invectives more vicious than against any other classification.

pelumaad
83
Points
pelumaad 02/24/13 - 01:07 pm
1
7
"Black" conservatives?

What do they wish to "conserve"....subservience?
Count me OUT.

JRC2024
8607
Points
JRC2024 02/24/13 - 03:22 pm
2
1
pelumaad, You are subserviant

pelumaad, You are subserviant when you want the government to give you everything to live such as food, living quarters, baby sitting services and anything else that takes from those of us who pay into the system. Thank goodness for these conserative people and the people that will join them. Very liberal ideas of "The Progressives" are leading the financial mess we are in. Look at the signs on all the street corners that announce you can get unearned income refund just for having a certain amount of children. Pathetic.

oldredneckman96
5080
Points
oldredneckman96 02/24/13 - 04:04 pm
0
1
Politics
Unpublished

Conservative values are not race based, brainwashing, block voting, those are race based. Every liberal in the Congress is white and blacks vote for them. Oblama is half black and was voted in by whites.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 02/24/13 - 04:28 pm
1
2
Herman Cain said it correctly
Unpublished

“What do they wish to "conserve"....subservience?”
pelumaad, Herman Cain said it correctly, “the liberals and democrats have brainwashed many black people”.

Darby
25098
Points
Darby 02/24/13 - 05:08 pm
2
1
"I wonder how many people will call this group racist."

The answer is ...no one. They have other "cute" derisive names for thinking black people. Names like Uncle Tom, Oreo, turncoat, traitor, "Disgrace to the Race" and many many more. Not very nice but that's how they deal with things and people they don't understand.

Darby
25098
Points
Darby 02/24/13 - 05:06 pm
1
1
"What do they wish to "conserve"....subservience?...

Count me OUT."
.

If a person is a black Democrat, then he/she has already cornered the market on subservience. You can't improve on perfection.

AutumnLeaves
7159
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AutumnLeaves 02/24/13 - 05:23 pm
0
0
Headline says: "Black

Headline says: "Black conservatives say voice 'growing' at Atlanta summit" I say: "Excellent"

Darby
25098
Points
Darby 02/24/13 - 06:07 pm
3
1
Black conservatives know better than....

anyone the damage that Democrats have done to poor black people.

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