Protest Gulf Coast Style
One of the first areas of the Magnolia State to see organized direct action was the Gulf Coast. Movement activists in Gulfport, Moss Point, Biloxi, Pascagoula, and other small towns lining the beach, sought to rid themselves of the strangling discrimination that characterized their daily lives. With a strict code of segregation statutes firmly in place, white leaders on the Gulf Coast had often portrayed their region of the state as immune to the problems that beset the Mississippi Delta and other areas. Their efforts to attract more tourists, however, brought them face-to-face with blacks who were fed up with Jim Crow and their second-class citizenship. When Gulf Coast blacks sought to integrate the beaches, hotels, schools, restaurants, and jobs that whites had enjoyed for decades, they met a wall of intransigent whites intent on keeping them in "their place." As in other areas of the state, violence and bloodshed were common.