The Biloxi Wade-In civil rights protests were convened by local Black residents of Biloxi, Mississippi. Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr., led the protests to desegregate Mississippi beaches along the Gulf Coast. It was the first major civil rights protest in Mississippi. The first wade-in took place on May 14, 1959, when Mason tried to swim at the beach with friends and their children.  A police officer ordered the group to leave due to violating segregation laws.  Mason and another protestor, Murry J. Saucier, Jr., went to the police station to determine if any laws had been broken.  They received no answer.  So they returned the following day, resulting in a meeting with the Mayor of Biloxi, Laz Quave.  Mayor Quave informed them they would be arrested if they returned to the beach. 

Several weeks later, in June 1959, Mason’s friend, Dr. Felix. Dunn penned a letter to the Harrison County Board of Supervisors asking, “What laws, if any, prohibit the use of the base facilities by Negro citizens?” The Board of Supervisors president responded, informing Dunn that, “the beach and water from the shoreline extending out of 1500 feet, meaning that black swimmers were trespassing if they came onto the beach. 

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