The Almanett Hotel in Gulfport is the only Black-owned hotel in southern Mississippi. In the late ’50’s and 60’s, it was also the site of a series of protests during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Organized by activist and Gulf Coast NAACP president Dr. Felix Dunn, Dr. Gilbert Mason Sr., Sandy Daniels and others led a series of protests along the 26 miles of federally-owned beaches known as the “Biloxi Wade-ins.”
These nonviolent protests were staged in response to the whites-only segregation of the beaches, including the ones that the Almanett overlooked. The response from white locals to the peaceful protesters was especially violent, sparking outrage from civil rights leaders nationwide. Dr. Dunn and Dr. Mason formed what would be eventually known as the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency.
This group filed one of the first-ever anti-discrimination lawsuits in U.S. history. The efforts of Dr. Dunn and Dr. Mason would eventually prove fruitful as the courts struck down the beach ban in 1968.
Little Known Black History Fact: The Almanett Hotel was originally published on blackamericaweb.com