BILOXI WADE IN COMMEMORATION
Fifty-five years after Dr. Gilbert Mason led 125 people onto the segregated beach of Biloxi, on a day that would be called Bloody Sunday and would be marked as one of the first Civil Rights actions in Mississippi, we gathered to commemorate this effort through public art. A collaboration between the East Biloxi Community Collaborative, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, and the Biloxi Youth NAACP was formed and together over several months we hand stitched 7 12'x 2.5' banners with quotes from Wade-In participants. Some of the original Wade-In participants came in to share their stories. Ethel Clay brought her granddaughter and together they stitched parts of her quote. Artist Ruth Miller brought her fine art embroidery and spoke to the group about being a working artist. Only one of us had ever embroidered but by the end we were teaching others and sharing our knowledge. This piece is just as much about process as the end result.
"The power of people coming together physically to make their presence known. To not be dismissed as one of many but to clearly represent ourselves and our beliefs. As an organized presence we share our strengths and weaknesses, depend on others for support and learn to support others in the continuing movement for equality and justice for all people and the places we call home" (Excerpt of the artist statement)