BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The late, Dr. Gilbert Mason spent more than four decades breaking down racial barriers. He was in the front lines of the civil rights battle in South Mississippi, fighting for basic human rights when it was unpopular and dangerous.
Thursday night, Mississippians are gathering to pay tribute to Mason and everyone who participated in the wade-in civil rights protests in the 60s to open the Gulf Coast beaches to all. "The Roll Call" takes place at 5 p.m. at the Gruich Community Center, 591 Howard Avenue, in Biloxi.
Because of his legacy and achievement, WLOX chose Dr. Gilbert Mason as Person of the Week in 1995. At that time he shared his story, in his own words of fighting for civil rights in our community. Mason said, "Lyndon Johnson once said at Howard University many years ago it is not just enough to open the door, but we must as a society help people to come through the door…. I knew years ago when we stepped into the fray, I wanted freedom. I wanted justice. I wanted equality. And if nobody in this world but my family wanted that, I would aspire to achieve freedom, justice and equality…. I have never been afraid for my life. I felt that I was here for a purpose."
Check out this video from the WLOX News Archive to hear Dr. Gilbert Mason himself telling his story to Jeff Lawson: