Remembering Bloody Sunday
The community is remembering the African-American protesters who took a stand against segregation 59 years ago. That protest turned violent and became forever known as ‘Bloody Sunday.’
Here on the beautiful Mississippi coast, visiting the beach is for everyone, but at one time it wasn’t the case. Biloxi NAACP President James Crowell said, “The area right in front of the hospital, well kind of east of the hospital, was the area that blacks had to go to to go to the beach. All of the other areas were off-limits.”
Wanting to enact change, Dr. Gilbert Mason led African-American protesters to the beach on Sunday, April 24th 1960, choosing to participate in a wade-in on Biloxi Beach. “There was a big, from my understanding, a lot of shooting that went on that day. Some people, one young man was killed, others were beat up pretty bad.”
That day became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ and was the state’s first organized act of civil disobedience in the Civil Rights era.
Now, fast forward seven years to 1967 when a judge ruled in favor of the U.S. Justice Department, allowing for African-Americans to access Biloxi’s public beaches. A sign on the beach commemorates the wade-in and ensures that it’s never forgotten. “A lot of these kids don’t realize that now. They don’t realize what it took to get where we are. There’s been a lot of sacrifice, not only to be able to go where we want, but even to vote.”
For those wanting to honor the wade-in, a public gathering will be held Saturday, April 27th at the Courthouse Road Pier at 2 p.m.