In 1960 and ’63, Dr. Gilbert Mason, Sr. and a group of black citizens attempted to integrate Biloxi’s beaches by wading into the water together. Mason recalls how the final wade-in was delayed by the death of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Mason also recounts how the protestors were treated after being arrested.
Convicted of trespassing, the group appealed the decision in county court. In this extended version of the original broadcast episode, Mason remembers learning of the death of President Kennedy while waiting for the Judge’s ruling.
A movie based on Dr. Mason’s story is currently in production.
June 12th marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Mississippi civil rights activist Medgar Evers. To mark the occasion, we have excerpts from the COH interview of Dr. Gilbert Mason, Sr. of Biloxi. Mason recalls Evers as a tireless leader who was always on the road going wherever he was needed. In this extended version of the broadcast episode, Mason relates in vivid detail the tensions resulting from acts of violence, threats and other forms of intimidation by those wishing to maintain the system of segregation.
The murder of Evers and other civil rights leaders only served to harden the resolve of those involved in the struggle for equality that "we shall overcome."
In 1961, J.C. Fairley was elected president of the Hattiesburg chapter of the NAACP. He remembers being warned of the danger of accepting such a high profile position by another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers.
John Frazier made a highly publicized attempt to become the first African-American to enroll at the University of Southern Mississippi in March of 1964. Fairley recalls accompanying Frazier to the USM campus and the welcome they received. He also explains how they successfully integrated 90% of Forrest County’s hotels and restaurants in just one day.
June 12th marks the 50th Anniversary of the death Medgar Evers. Mississippi Moments salutes the brave Mississippians who stood up for what was right during that turbulent time. Please enjoy this extended version of the original broadcast episode.
In 2005, Joseph Hammonds of Sand Hill was serving in Iraq with the 150th Combat Engineer Battalion. He remembers searching for stockpiles of weapons and the danger posed by improvised explosive devices or I.E.D.s.
Hammonds recalls earning a Combat Action Citation for surviving an I.E.D. attack while on patrol in the spring of that year. He reflects on the heavy price paid by tank crews who often took the lead in convoys.
While in Iraq, Hammonds’ grandfather passed away and he was denied leave time to attend the funeral. He explains how missing that funeral possibly saved the lives of his friends.
Senator Theodore Smith of Corinth was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1936. He recalls the push to establish a state highway program and marvels at the number of highways that the state managed to pave for $40 million.
According to Smith, many backroom deals were struck at the King Edward Hotel. He reflects on how the center of power shifted from the Governor’s Office to the Legislature during his political career.