In a new report, the Washington Post reveals that, for years, the West Texas hunting camp where Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) hosted friends and lawmakers bore the offensive name “Niggerhead.” Perry and his family first began leasing the property in the early 1980s but even after he became governor, reports suggest that Perry made no effort to change the name, which was painted in block letters across a rock slab at the entrance to the camp.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday, fellow presidential contender Herman Cain criticized Perry for not taking action to change the name of the camp for so many years. Cain, the only African American candidate in the GOP race, called Perry’s complacency about the racist slur “insensitive towards…black people”:
CAIN: My reaction is that’s just very insensitive…That is a more vile negative word than the N word, and for him to leave it there for as long as he did before I hear that they finally painted over it is just plain insensitive towards a lot of black people in this country.
In response to a series of written questions from the Post, Perry claims that he and his father quickly painted over the rock when they noticed it in the ’80s, and repeatedly tried to cover it up after that. But that account of events differs sharply from what most people interviewed by the Post remember. Seven people said the block-lettered name was clearly visible at different points in the ’80s and ’90s — one remembered seeing it as recently as 2008. A local resident of Paint Creek, Texas, who visited the property with Perry recalled seeing the rock and thinking, “This is going to embarrass Rick some day.”