Whether out of ignorance or deliberate intent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis drew from a white supremacist playbook when he tricked 50 immigrants into boarding a plane in Texas so he could stage the stunt of delivering them to wealthy vacationers at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The similarities are too striking to be mere coincidences between DeSantis’ action and one pulled by the Little Rock White Citizens’ Council in 1962.
Back then, it was dubbed the Reverse Freedom Rides – an attempt to send Blacks to the North in response to Freedom Riders protesting public-transit segregation in the South. The Reverse Freedom Rides delivered busloads of Blacks, including to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis, Massachusetts. It was a cynical attempt to suggest that white Northern liberals wouldn’t be so supportive of civil rights if faced with an influx of Blacks at their doorsteps. Unemployed Black women who had recently been released from prison were chosen as a way to maximize the burden they would place on Hyannis residents.