The Reverse Freedom Rides of 1962 is a dark and forgotten period of American history during which hundreds of Black Americans were conned into a one-way bus ride to the northern states by white segregationists in the South.
While the segregationists promised housing and greater opportunities to Black Americans, the roughly 200 who made the rides to the North were left empty-handed and humiliated, all for a political ploy to embarrass both liberals fighting for racial justice as well as people of color who had been searching for a better life.
Most would hope that although this occurred relatively recently, as a country we may have moved on from this sort of racism. However, Governors Gregg Abbot of Texas, Doug Doucey of Arizona and Ron DeSantis of Florida have proven that this sort of biogted behavior remains very much alive, and on a larger scale than the Reverse Freedom Rides.
Abbot has bussed over 11,000 migrants to sanctuary cities including Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago, while 2,000 migrants have been bussed from Arizona on behalf of Ducey to Washington, and over 50 migrants from Florida boarded a plane chartered by DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
When migrants arrive in New York, they are met by volunteers who provide basic supplies such as food, water and clothing. Other than these volunteers, there is little infrastructure for the city to take on this influx of people in immense need.
Out of the 11,000 migrants who arrived in New York City, 8,500 of them are living in shelters, which are not necessarily safe and reliable places. There have been reports of migrants assigned to a men’s shelter being denied their placement with threats of violence and even assault reported in other shelters. Some women complain that their children are not receiving adequate food.
The various GOP members who made this happen are putting the wellbeing of countless already at-risk people on the line for the sake of a political blow. Had migrants been given access to resources available in Texas, Arizona and Florida, then there would likely not have been such an unexpected overload on the systems existing in sanctuary cities.
Conservatives love to point to the progress made in the Civil Rights era and say “At least it's not like that anymore!” yet return to the tactics used to fight the movement and utilize them in modern contexts, claiming it is different. While this situation is not different from the Reverse Freedom Rides of the 1960s, it is arguably worse as a considerably higher number of people have been displaced.
The GOP has been at a crossroads of adapting forward or moving backward for a long time now, and its intent to turn back has become increasingly clear. It has been shifting its weight, Republicans gazing over their shoulders longingly at the suffering people they’ve crawled over throughout the years. If the right continues to breathe radicalization, it may very well be the party’s last breaths.
Megan Diehl is a sophomore studying Journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Megan know by tweeting her @megandiehl02.
Assistant Opinion Editor