Ranchers who once grazed cattle on the 1,070-acre parcel on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River called it by that name well before Perry and his father, Ray, began hunting there in the early 1980s. There is no definitive account of when the rock first appeared on the property. In an earlier time, the name on the rock was often given to mountains and creeks and rock outcroppings across the country. Over the years, civil rights groups and government agencies have had some success changing those and other racially offensive names that dotted the nation’s maps.Does this have anything to do with Rick Perry (who, asked about the rock, said the word is an "offensive name that has no place in the modern world")? Well, yes, if you're inclined to think that Perry's rural Texas background has bred something nasty into him:
Perry has spoken often about how his upbringing in this sparsely populated farming community influenced his conservatism. He has rarely, if ever, discussed what it was like growing up amid segregation in an area where blacks were a tiny fraction of the population.So what's he hiding, eh?
Reading on, we see that — according to Perry — Perry's father leased the property in 1983, and the first thing he did was paint over the word on the rock. And every time Perry saw the rock, it was painted over. But WaPo found 7 individuals who say they remember seeing the name on the rock during the time when Perry's father's name was on the lease. And:
Longtime hunters, cowboys and ranchers said this particular place was known by that name as long as they could remember, and still is.No one thought anything about it. Those who are looking for a racial issue to play know how to jump on a phrase like that. Okay, then, let him who is without sin cast the first rock.
“The cowboys, when they were gathering cattle, they’d say they’re going to the Matthews or Niggerhead or the Nail” pastures, said Bill Reed, a distributor for Coors beer in nearby Abilene who used to lease a hunting parcel adjacent to the Perrys’. “Those were all names. Nobody thought anything about it.”...
“You know, Texas is a little different — you go where it’s comfortable,” Reed said. “. . . It would have been one thing if [the Perrys] had named it, but they didn’t. So, it’s basically a figure of speech as far as most people are concerned. No one thought anything about it.”