Translate page with Google

Project May 26, 2021

When Black Lives Matter Comes to Rural, White Texas


The town of Vidor, Texas, is infamous for its legacy of racism. A bastion of the KKK. A “sundown” town, where Blacks were told to split after the sun set. In the 1990s, as a result of court-ordered desegregation of public housing projects, a few Black families dared moving in. They were soon driven out.

To this day, less than one percent of the population is Black, while they make up nearly half the population in nearby, larger towns. When a protest in support of Black Lives Matter was organized in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, many Blacks in the area suspected it to be a trap. Others felt it was ground-breaking.

Behind the march and support for Black Lives Matter is a young generation eager to change Vidor’s racist legacy. But many of them encountered push-back, from their families and community, re-igniting tensions and a long-simmering struggle over the town’s legacy on issues of race. What happens when calls for racial justice penetrate the white, rural pockets of America where they have historically been absent or silenced? What can Vidor tell us about how racism, and the fight against it, is shifting in the US?