Thursday, April 19, 1962: Reverse Freedom Rides

Segregationists in the South, led by the Citizens' Council of Greater New Orleans, pay for blacks to move to Northern states. The intent, said a council spokesman: "This is one way to show the colored people what the situation is in the North." The Herald Tribune News Service described it this way: "Apparently what the segregationist organization wants to do with this burgeoning send-the-Negroes north movement is not to try to depopulate New Orleans and the state of its Negro people, but to force what they feel is a showdown on the Northern integrationists, and especially the Northern 'liberals' who say they have the Negroes' interest at heart."

In the weeks that followed, the campaign would send blacks from other Southern cities to various locales, including Hyannis, Massachusetts, the summer home of President Kennedy.

The arrival in New York of the Boyd family (which had left New Orleans on April 19) was front-page news in The New York Times on April 22:

An unemployed Negro longshoreman, his wife and eight children arrived yesterday by bus from New Orleans on one-way tickets paid for by segregationists. The father found three job offers waiting. He had warm praise for the Citizens Council in New Orleans, which financed the trip to New Orleans. "They're wonderful," said Louis Boyd when he was asked about the group. It paid more than $200 for the tickets and gave him $50 to buy food on the forty-two-hour trip. ... "I am not sorry to leave the South," he said. "There is nothing there for me."

Boyd was quoted by The Associated Press as saying, "I see a lot of people working here and you don't see much of that in New Orleans."

Photo by The Associated Press. The caption reads: "Three 'Reverse Freedom Riders' left New Orleans for Concord, N.H., on one-way bus tickets bought by the New Orleans Citizens Council. They are shown with Citizens Council director George Singlemann, right, July 20, 1962 in New Orleans. The reverse Freedom Riders are, from left, Eddie Rose, Almer Payton and Willie Ramsey."

* "Reverse Freedom Rides sent African-Americans out of the South, some for good" (New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 22, 2011): @
* Excerpt from "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice" (2006 book by Raymond Arsenault): @
* Excerpt from "Freedom's Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides" (2009 book by Derek Catsam): @
* "The Citizens' Council: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction" (1994 book by Neil R. McMillen): @

-- Earlier posts
* Boynton v. Virginia (December 5, 1960): @
* Freedom Rides (May 1961): @
* Freedom Rides update (September 22, 1961): @
* Freedom Rides resources: @

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