Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gilbert R. Mason, 'Civil Rights Doctor,' Dies

Gilbert R. Mason made a big splash in Mississippi's civil rights cause. Known as South Mississippi's "civil rights doctor," Mason was a leading cursader for racial equality. He died Friday, July 7, after a lengthy illness, the Associated Press reported. He was 77.

The Jackson native worked to integrate Biloxi's beaches and provide medical care for blacks during a time when those services were not available to blacks.

Mason had opened his medical practice in Biloxi in 1966, when black physicians were not allowed to work on hospital staffs and black were not allowed on maternity wards -- a practice he helped to reverse. He also fought for school integration during the 1950s and 1960s. Mason staged beach wade-ins into the Mississippi Sound to protest and was jailed for trespassing.

Of course, Mason was a frequent target of Sovereignty Commission reports. Here are several of the hundreds that still exist:

6-page memo on beach integration, May 4, 1960, by Zack J. Van Landingham

News articles -- "Negro Breaks Color Line at Biloxi"

News article -- whites attack blacks who try to swim at Biloxi Beach

News article -- Mississippi's Supreme Court a Gulf Coast beach strip to private landowners, "complicating" U. S. Integration

Follow-up memo, May 5, Zack J. Van Landingham

Lengthy memo from ZJVL on voter registration in Biloxi; involves Dr. Mason

Memo, June 28, 19969 -- Suspicion that Mason and another black are involved with two whites, known for the civil rights involvement

* * * * *

So much more ... all fascinating reading from the files. sk

* * * * *

Gilbert R. El masón hizo a chapoteo grande en la causa de las derechas civiles de Mississippi. Sabido pues doctor de las derechas civiles de Mississippi del sur el “,” masón era un cursader principal para la igualdad racial. Él murió el viernes 7 de julio, después de una enfermedad muy larga, la prensa asociada divulgada. Él era 77.

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