"Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You're Not One?" was led by KCarl Smith of Birmingham, Ala., The Atlantic Wire reported. Smith describes himself as a "Frederick Douglass Republican" and says the anti-slavery leader subscribed to conservative principals.
The discussion had already gotten heated when a young black woman suggested it is unfair to identify the modern Democratic Party with southern segregationists of the 1960s. She said she attended the Democratic Convention last year and "did not see the KKK advocating for Barack Obama."
Soon after, Scott Terry, a member of the White Students Union at Towson State University in Maryland, suggested conservatives should be "Booker T. Washington Republicans." He was referring to the Tuskegee Institute founder who was willing to accept segregation.
"It seems to me that you're reaching out to voters at the expense of young white southern males like myself," Terry said.
Smith tried to change the course of the discussion by talking about Douglass forgiving his former owner.
"Did he thank him for giving him shelter?" Terry asked, provoking an angry response from the young woman that blacks did not "benefit" from slavery.
Smith said racism "does not have a political face" and can be found in both parties. He then talked about Martin Luther King Jr. reaching out to everyone.
"We don't need Marxists in the Republican Party," Matthew Heimbach, president of the Towson group, interjected.
Heimbach told The Atlantic after the panel ended that he, like the young black woman, believes southern segregationists moved into the Republican Party.
"I came to realize over time by reading Republicans of the '60s and '70s that the right-wing is lying to itself," he said.