BARNSTABLE, Mass. (WPRI) — The approximately 50 migrants who were flown across the country this week as part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s relocation program are now being housed in Cape Cod.
The migrants say they were promised housing and jobs, but Massachusetts officials say the arrival was unexpected.
Following the arrival, 12 News spoke to Providence NAACP President, Jim Vincent, who says the situation reminded him of a similar story from over half a century ago, that would become known as the “Reverse Freedom Rides.”
The story begins in 1962, when Southern segregationists tricked about 200 African Americans from the south into moving North, to Hyannis, Massachusetts. Like the Migrants they were promised housing, jobs, and opportunity, but when they arrived, they were shocked to find nothing of the sort.
“I don’t think a lot of people know this history,” said Vincent, who also highlighted some of the similarities between the two instances.
“Putting black people on bus with large families and people recently released from prison with the promise of jobs and homes and even meeting President Kennedy– the parallels are stark in terms of their similarity”
The migrants who first arrived in Martha’s Vineyard are now being housed at a joint military base in Cape Cod.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says members of the state’s National Guard are being sent to the base, to help in the relief effort.