Black physician Dr. Gilbert Mason Sr. will be honored by the National Register of Historic Places for his work in desegregating beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Associated Press reports that Mason's office will become a historic national landmark in Biloxi, Mississippi.

At a young age, Mason has always faced the evils of segregation and racism in his native Mississippi.

When he was pursuing his degree in medicine, he was denied entry to the University of Mississippi solely because he was a black man. But the oppressive powers that be could not stop his drive. He entered the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Upon completing his degree, he spent a decade working as a physician before he opened his own office in 1966. The now historic office was located near the beach where he led “wade-in” protests to challenge segregated public beaches in Biloxi.  

“Local practice reserved God’s sunrises and sunsets over the glistening waters and white sands of Biloxi beach for the exclusive enjoyment of white folks,” they wrote. “For a man who loved swimming and who had gloried in the free use of the parks in Chicago and Washington, D.C., the idea that a marvelous oak-lined public beach was forbidden territory was just too much to abide.”

From 1959 to 1968, Mason led many protests against segregation including the 1960 march called "Bloody Sunday" that was a hotbed of white rage. There were 100 or more black protesters attacked by a white mob brandishing rocks, sticks and chains. 

By 1968, the marching and the struggle for justice changed things. The beaches were no longer segregated by federal court decree. 

Mason achieved many things before passing away in 2006. In addition to his civil rights career and being a doctor, he served in the Division of Comprehensive Health and the state Board of Medical Licensure.