The Martha's Vineyard Migrant Flight Has Echoes of a Dark Past
It ties to Reverse Freedom Rides
In the summer of 1962, after three days on a Greyhound bus, Lela Mae Williams was just an hour from her destination—Hyannis, Mass. She went to the front of the bus and asked the bus driver to pull over. She needed to change into her finest clothes. She had been promised the Kennedy family would be waiting for her.
It was late on a Wednesday afternoon when that Greyhound bus from Little Rock, Ark., pulled into Hyannis. It slowed to a stop near the summer home of President John F. Kennedy and his family. When the doors opened, Lela Mae and her nine youngest children stepped onto the pavement.
Reporters' microphones pointed at her, their cameras trained on her family. The photographs in the next day's newspaper show Lela Mae looking immaculate. In an elegant black dress, a triple string of pearls and a white hat, she was dressed to start a new life.
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