As cruel and unusual as it may seem, the dumping of migrants looking to flee oppression is not new. unfortunately, the dingbats “gubernatorial twins” John Abbott and Ron DeSantis don’t read history. Or maybe they do.
You may not know it, but this “forced bussing” is not new in Maya Angelou’s “Yet to be United States.” There was a moment of déjà vu as I read an article recently in the Dallas Morning News. We’ve seen this movie before.
“The Bexar County sheriff launched a criminal investigation Monday into the transfer of migrants by plane from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida’s governor amid rising migration.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said he has opened up a criminal investigation against the individual or individuals who “lured under false pretenses” 48 newly arrived migrants in San Antonio to fly to Martha’s Vineyard last week.
“Here we have 48 people who were already on hard times, and they were here legally in our country at that point … and I believe they were preyed upon,” said Salazar in a news conference. “They were just made fools of and were subjected to a video op, a photo op.”
Flashback 60 years to the date, and you will find a similar act of deceit and discrimination in the South. The Reverse Freedom Rides featured Southern segregationists arranging for free bus rides to the North. See the resemblance?
African Americans were given free one-way bus tickets to “liberal-leaning” cities like New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia in the North and Los Angeles in the West.
These were places known to give opportunities to Blacks at every skill level.
Ask your grandmother from East Texas why y’all have so many people in Michigan and L.A. Not only did leaving the South mean a chance at earning a living, but you would probably enjoy more of the guaranteed civil liberties. You know, the civil liberties they brag about when they flaunt that Constitution they love so dearly.
They sold and funded this program through the White Citizens Council to make the plot even more sinister. White Citizen Councils were functional and successful throughout the South. Read the Accommodation by Jim Schultze. He explains that the Dallas Citizens Council was among the best. They even employ Negroes to help them oppress y’all!
I would tell you that “Dallas’ business leaders” don’t meet under that name, but they still run Dallas. Have you ever wondered why a majority-minority city has less than 10% minority participation in public sector contracts? We pay the taxes; they get the wealth. More about that later.
Wikipedia draws a pretty good picture in its historical synopsis of the Reverse Freedom Rides.
“The reverse freedom rides were a parody of the Freedom Rides, which were organized by the Congress of Racial Equality(CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) beginning in 1960. The reverse rides were organized by George Singelmann, a New Orleans Greater Citizens’ Council member, in retaliation against Northern liberals.
Singelmann viewed the reverse rides as a way of testing the North and proving white northerners weren’t sincere in their desire for racial equality. In a T.V. interview, Singelmann stated, “They have been crying the sing-song on behalf of the Negroes throughout the nation. And of course, when it comes time for them to put up or shut up, they have shut up.”
Singelmann also viewed the Rides as an opportunity to steal some of the press coverage which was continuing to be devoted to the Freedom Rides and as a means to remove some African Americans from the state’s welfare roll as he believed they were draining state resources.”
Singelmann and Citizens Council aimed to send thousands of Black folks away. They tried unsuccessfully to secure $100,000 from the Louisiana legislature. They tricked 200-300 “riders under the pretense that they would secure good jobs and free housing. I’m certain that the prospect of being called “boy, gal or Nigger” less often was also a drawing card.
None of us should stand idly by and watch blatant discrimination and oppression, especially black folks. Unfortunately, we have seen this movie before.
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.