Regarding Betty’s post earlier regarding the Seminole swamp things petulant, overtly racist, and illegal behavior regarding shipping immigrants around the country to prove I don’t know what, long time friend of the blog Greg Boggis reminds me of this:
fter three days on a Greyhound bus, Lela Mae Williams was just an hour from her destination—Hyannis, Mass.—when she asked the bus driver to pull over. She needed to change into her finest clothes. She had been promised the Kennedy family would be waiting for her.
It was late on a Wednesday afternoon, nearly 60 years ago, when that Greyhound bus from Little Rock, Ark., pulled into Hyannis. It slowed to a stop near the summer home of President John F. Kennedy and his family. When the doors opened, Lela Mae and her nine youngest children stepped onto the pavement.
Reporters’ microphones pointed at her, their cameras trained on her family. The photographs in the next day’s newspaper show Lela Mae looking immaculate. In an elegant black dress, a triple string of pearls and a white hat, she was dressed to start a new life.
“She was going to have a job, and she was going to be able to support her family,” one of Lela Mae’s daughters, Betty Williams, remembered in a recent interview. Before coming north to Massachusetts, Lela Mae had been promised a good job, good housing and a presidential welcome.
But President Kennedy was not there to meet her. And there was no job or permanent housing waiting for her in Hyannis. Instead, Lela Mae and the others were unwitting pawns in a segregationist game.
“It was one of the most inhuman things I have ever seen,” recalled Margaret Moseley, a longtime civil rights activist in Hyannis, in a televised interview a few years before her death.
Fuming over the civil rights movement, Southern segregationists had concocted a way to retaliate against Northern liberals. In 1962, they tricked about 200 African Americans from the South into moving north. The idea was simple: When large numbers of African Americans showed up on Northern doorsteps, Northerners would not be able to accommodate them. They would not want them, and their hypocrisy would be exposed.
The Reverse Freedom Rides have largely disappeared from the country’s collective memory. The scheme almost never appears in history books and is little-known even in Hyannis, the primary target of the ploy. But some hear echoes of that segregationist past in America’s present. And for the families that came to the North based on a lie, the journey has cast an enduring shadow on their lives.
Look, there is a simple reason Republicans don’t want history about the Civil Rights movement taught in schools. It’s because they don’t want the kids seeing pictures from the sixties of gram and gramps shouting obscenities at African Americans at the lunch counter. All these rightwing fucksticks, including Sunshine Benito, all think that they are the good people, that if WWII happened today it would be them fighting the Nazis and no they aren’t racist, they’d be on the good side of the civil war. No they wouldn’t. They’re the same motherfuckers who protested the Irish wave, the Chinese wave, the Jewish and Italian waves, etc. The only reason they didn’t protest the initial Cuban waves is because those were the moneyed fascists fleeing here.
Fuck them all.