Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

b) Minority attendees

The fact that no minorities attended the first Roundup is not surprising, given the racial makeup of the ATF offices in the southeast at that time. The only black ATF agent assigned to the immediate area in 1980 appeared to be Larry Stewart, who had started in the ATF's Atlanta office in 1978, and Stewart admitted he had no desire to attend the Roundup. Interviewees told us that few minority agents worked in other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies near the Roundup site. The event itself was held in Polk County, Tennessee, which the Census Bureau reported had no black residents as of the last census.

The absence of minorities may also have been influenced by the nature of the first outing, which was a private camping trip among people who were friends, rather than mere professional acquaintances. If these people did not usually socialize with blacks or other minorities outside the office, the nature of the Roundup as a multi-night camping trip would not have induced people to alter their normal behavior. This explanation loses some force as the event evolved to become larger and quasi-public and to address an overall law enforcement liaison function. Nevertheless, combined with the dearth of minority agents in the area, patterns of personal relationships rather than institutional policy appear to explain the absence of minorities at the earliest Roundups.

The continued nonattendance of minority attendees over time, however, is more puzzling. A number of African Americans were invited to Roundups, but few appear to have actually attended. We received reports from attendees of seeing blacks or other minorities generally in a broad range of years beginning in the mid- to late 1980's, but these witnesses were rarely able to provide us with the individuals' name. In one instance we were told that a particular black IRS agent attended, but that individual denied it. We did confirm, however, that a number of minority attendees -- including Hispanics, Filipinos, Native Americans, a Korean American, and some Cubans -- went to a large number of Roundups. Two even became members of the MOB. However, only 20 minority attendees could be identified by name, just four of whom were black. All four of these African Americans attended in 1995.