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Reverse Freedom Rides

Sixty years ago, the Freedom Rides ended segregation in southern bus terminals. The following year, the pro-segregation White Citizens’ Councils began the so-called “Reverse Freedom Rides.” They paid a one-way fare for black families to ride North. More of a publicity stunt than a serious enterprise, the Reverse Freedom Rides were embraced by Little Rock’s Capital Citizen’s Council. The Council funded more Reverse Freedom Rides than any other branch in the country, virtually bankrupting itself in the process. The main victims were the near two hundred black families who were desperate enough to take up the offer. They ended up being pawns in what the New York Times described as [quote] “a cheap trafficking in human misery.”