Joy Reid Compares Ron DeSantis’ Immigrant Flights to 1960s Segregationists’ ‘Reverse Freedom Rides’ North and West (Video)

·2-min read

MSNBC’s Joy Reid became the latest TV talk-show host Friday to take on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his flying of two planes full of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, this week.

Reid compared the move, which reportedly included devious and false promises to the immigrants, to the acts by 1960s segregationists of busing some in the Black communities of the South across the country “with the promise of a better life.”

“White segregationists concocted a viciously racist plan offering Black people one-way tickets to the north or to the west,” Reid said Friday in a monologue on her show, “The ReidOut,” which you can watch at the bottom of this post.

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Reid noted the trips were called “Reverse Freedom Rides,” coined from the bus trips 1960s civil rights activists took called “Freedom Rides.”

Reid welcomed a guest on the show named Betty Williams, whose mother was “lured” onto one of the “Reverse Freedom Rides” buses in 1962.

“My mother was told she was going to have a better everything,” Williams said in an interview included in Reid’s monologue. “She was going to have a better job. And she was going to be able to support her family. And her children were going to get an education, be able to go to school.

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“You know, that alone was not the truth,” Williams said.

The “Reverse Freedom Rides” were a retaliatory parody of the pro-civil rights freedom riders organized by racist opponents of desegregation in 1962. Essentially, about 300 Black people in southern cities were given free, one-way bus tickets to cities in northern and western states and told (dishonestly) that there were jobs and housing waiting for them. (Victims were most commonly sent to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.)

The organizers were members of various White Citizens Council chapters who hoped to expose what they believed was hypocrisy by people outside of the South on matters of racial equality and civil rights. When the scheme was exposed, public opinion was overwhelmingly against the “Reverse Freedom Rides,” and they petered out in 1963.

Watch “The ReidOut” segment in full below.