c) Factors affecting minority attendance
These low levels of minority attendance required further scrutiny. Of course, the mere fact that African Americans or other minorities opted to avoid the Roundup did not necessarily demonstrate that they were racist events. Many white agents who were invited also chose not to attend. We sought to determine, therefore, whether black agents decided not to go to the Roundup for race-specific reasons. Most black invitees cited personal reasons, such as an inability to get time away from work, a preference for spending time with their family, or a lack of interest in camping and excessive drinking. These reasons accorded with those given by the many white individuals who also declined to attend.
Some minority invitees did indicate, however, that the mere location of an overnight event in the woods in an all-white county made them uncomfortable, even though they had no information regarding any actual danger or expectation of racist activity. Indeed, no minority invitees reported having specific information that racist conduct had or would occur at the Roundup. Prior to July 1995, none of the minority agents in Justice Department offices in the region had heard that the Roundup was a whites-only event or that its purpose was to carry out racist activities or at least permit the expression of racist views. Even Larry Stewart and Curtis Cooper, both outspoken critics of the Roundup, could cite no evidence of actual racist activity at any Roundup. Two black agents who had been personally invited to attend by Rightmyer reported that although they had no information of any racist activity at the Roundup, they told Rightmyer they did not wish to be the only blacks at an event in the woods. Rightmyer promised the agents that he would "protect" them. They told Rightmyer they had no interest in attending an event at which they needed protection.