Keel laid for research ship named after Mississippi civil rights leader Dr. Gilbert R. Mason Sr.

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Photo courtesy of University of Southern Mississippi.

HOUMA, La. (AP) — A Mississippi civil rights physician was honored during a ceremony in Louisiana marking the construction of a research vessel named after him.

A keel-laying ceremony was held Tuesday to recognize the construction start of Research Vessel Gilbert R. Mason, named after Dr. Gilbert R. Mason Sr.

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Mason died in 2006. He helped integrate Biloxi public schools in Mississippi and desegregate Biloxi beaches.

The $106 million vessel is 200-feet long and will accommodate a crew of 29 to sea for 21 days.

The ship will dock at the Houma Navigation Canal or in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The R.V. Gilbert R. Mason is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

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