Mason, Gilbert R.

Biography:

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, on October 7, 1928, African American physician Gilbert R. Mason founded the Biloxi branch of NAACP and served as vice president of the Mississippi NAACP for thirty-three years. In May 1959, he initiated a "wade-in" against the "whites only" section of a federally funded Gulf Coast beach for which he and his group of protesters were arrested. A successful antidiscrimination lawsuit was brought against the state, and Mason filed Biloxi's first school desegregation lawsuit. Masson assisted in the formation of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and participated in its Freedom Summer voter registration drive. He died on July 8, 2006.

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