A group of high school students were on a college tour when their bus started to have problems and they had to spend the night at an Econo Lodge in Live Oak, Florida.
Unfortunately, their stay quickly turned into an evening of racism.
“It was owned by white people. And they started taking pictures of all the kids as we were walking in and out of the hotel,” said student Melissa Blacque. She added, “They were calling us the N word and called Blake the N word. We were just like ‘whoa.’”
“I heard one of the ladies, she said, ‘If i see one more of them, I’m calling the law,’” Coordinator Blake Odum said.
Odum said that things were so tense that he called the police proactively, and there he received a disturbing warning. “The officer pulled me to the side and said, ‘You know, I just want to let you know this area right off the interstate, people aren’t too accommodating to you all.’ And he said, ‘If you know what I mean.’ I said, ‘Black people?’ And he said, ‘Yeah,’” Odum said.
The staff insisted that the group check out precisely at 10 the next morning, and as they were leaving, Odum said he overheard one of the managers saying, “We’re going to get these N****rs off our property.”
“To hear it come from an adult directly at children and then to our adviser in front of us was just like, ‘wow,” Blacque said.
When asked why they didn’t switch hotels, Odum said the bus company had placed them there for financial reasons. “The bus company put us at this hotel even though we advised them against it. We were advised by the daughter of the owner of the bus company. She said her dad wanted to put us there because that was the most cost effective. And we were looking at what was the most safe. And they didn’t take that into consideration,” he said.