Activists to be honored at Wade-In Remembrance - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Activists to be honored at Wade-In Remembrance

The annual event will feature voices re-enacted from court records. (Photo source: WLOX) The annual event will feature voices re-enacted from court records. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Although the Biloxi beach is now full of people from all walks of life, 50 years ago that wasn't the case. 

Until 1968, black people were not allowed.

On three separate occasions: May 14, 1959, April 24, 1960, and June 23, 1963 -  protesters led by the late Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. demanded equal justice. The group - which was made up of both blacks and whites - held wade-ins on the Biloxi beach front.

The second protest went on to be known as the "Bloody Wade-In" after gunfire and assaults erupted. 

In a 2016 interview with WLOX News Now, Le'Roy Carney, who was 11 years old at the time, recalled a particular statement he heard from a police officer. 

“He told the crowd, ‘I can’t get them off, but you can’,” Carney said. “And when he said that, people raised their trunks, open their cars. They came out with everything they could find. Sticks, bats.”

Although the beach has now been integrated for nearly 50 years, leaders continue to honor the work of the civil rights activists who paved the way. 

On April 20, the public is invited to the annual Wade-In Witnesses Remembrance and Roll Call Tribute. The event will give attendees a first-hand look at the protests, as well as honor those involved.

Civil rights attorney Constance Slaughter-Harvey will serve as the keynote speaker. 

The remembrance will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the the Dr. Frank Gruich Sr. Community Center, located at 591 Howard Ave. 

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