George Floyd protests: Former KKK haven in Vidor, Texas holds peaceful BLM rally, internet says 'it's not enough'
When reports began emerging in the past week about a peaceful protest in Vidor, many doubted the authenticity of the protest and still can't believe it happened
Vidor is a small city in western Orange County, Texas with a population of about 11,000 people. The city is best known as a "sundown town," because African-Americans were not welcome after dark. It is also considered a haven for the white supremacist group, Ku Klux Klan (KKK). When the federal government tried to bring in racial integration in 1993 by bringing a handful of black families into Vidor's public housing, the Klan marched in the city. Within months, the few black families moved out.
In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, an African-American man at the hands of the police, when reports began emerging in the past week about a peaceful protest in Vidor, it is no wonder that many began doubting the authenticity of the protest.
One Twitter user shared, "Do. Not. Step. Your. Black. A**es. Into. Vidor," while another wrote, "There is a March being organized in VIDOR, TEXAS." “This is a setup,” one user wrote. “Texas people know if you’re Black you don’t even stop for gas in Vidor.” However, the organizer for the protest came forward to say the protest, scheduled for this Saturday, June 6th, was legitimate and that she wanted to "see peace." The account has since been deleted.
The peaceful protest did occur in Vidor on June 6 with approximately 200 people marching for Floyd and other African-Americans who lost their lives due to police brutality. The crowd knelt for eight minutes and 36 seconds of silence while protesters called out what Floyd said in his last moments. The completion of the protest left many surprised by the turn of events, given the city's racist history.
One user tweeted, "I never thought I would live to see the day when a sundown town like Vidor has a #BlackLivesMattters march. Vidor was the town my parents told me about to ensure I never stopped if I decided to drive from Houston to NOLA," while another wrote, 'Unfortunately, Vidor can’t live their reputation down, but many of us live or have lived in that small Texas town and actively support the movement. There was a peaceful march today right in the middle of this town.
One user opined, "That video isn’t Vidor, but Vidor is a shitty place. I was impressed that they held a BLM march there today though. However, it’s not enough to erase their history," while another shared, "Vidor is still pretty racist. It’s one of those places that’s known not to go to if you’re black. However, they did hold a very peaceful BLM march today. Things are changing, but not at the rate they need to."
Another tweeted, "Ok, I don't know how many ppl out there know about Vidor, Tx (home of the KKK) - but they actually held a BLM March - in Vidor, Tx - IN VIDOR, TX!!! My world has flipped. Best news I heard all day!!! (I grew up in Bmt., Tx so I knew all about Vidor - we all did)." One user expressed, "TIL there was an anti-racist march in Vidor, TX. I never would have believed or expected anything like this in my lifetime. Hats off to anyone who marched and/or supported the march."
However, social media pointed out that a peaceful protest in a town with racist history is not enough to show change is taking place. One user wrote, "I'm seeing white people sharing around images of the Vidor BLM march saying it's a good sign, looks promising, etc., and y'all really need to hold your optimistic takes until we have undeniable proof that every nonwhite person in attendance made it back out of there unharmed."