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The Almanett Hotel and Bistro: A Beacon of Civil Rights History


The Almanett Hotel and Bistro Entrance

Situated in Gulfport, Mississippi, the Almanett Hotel holds a unique place in the annals of Civil Rights history. As the sole Black-owned hotel in southern Mississippi, it played a pivotal role in the struggle for equality during the late 1950s and 1960s.


Led by prominent activists such as Dr. Felix Dunn, Dr. Gilbert Mason Sr., and Sandy Daniels, the Almanett Hotel became a focal point for protests against the whites-only segregation policy on the federally-owned beaches. These courageous demonstrations, marked by nonviolent resistance, faced severe backlash from white locals but sparked nationwide outrage and solidarity among civil rights leaders.


Dr. Dunn and Dr. Mason's activism catalyzed groundbreaking legal action, including one of the earliest anti-discrimination lawsuits in U.S. history. Their tireless efforts culminated in the overturning of the beach ban in 1968, marking a significant victory in the ongoing struggle for racial equality.


Dr. Gilbert Mason, along with Black and White protesters, shown here being escorted by police, after a "wade-in" protest to desegregate Biloxi's twenty-six-mile-long shoreline.

"Beaches, Blood, and Ballots: A Black Doctor's Civil Right Struggle" Book Cover

Dr. Mason's memoir, "Beaches, Blood, and Ballots: A Black Doctor’s Civil Rights Struggle," published in 2007, offers a poignant account of the events surrounding the Almanett Hotel protests and his personal journey as a civil rights leader.


Today, the Almanett Hotel stands as more than just a place of accommodation; it is a living testament to the resilience and courage of those who fought against systemic racism. It serves as a reminder of the enduring struggle for equality and the importance of commemorating the contributions of those who paved the way for progress.


Visitors to Gulfport can explore the rich history of the Almanett Hotel and Bistro, immersing themselves in the stories of courage and determination that continue to inspire generations.


Join us as we honor the legacy of the Almanett Hotel and celebrate the indomitable spirit of the Civil Rights Movement.


 

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