GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A new oceanographic research ship will be named for a Mississippi physician who filed one of the Deep South’s first school desegregation lawsuits and led wade-ins at a federally funded public beach. The lawsuit which Gilbert R. Mason Sr. filed for his son made Biloxi’s public schools the first in Mississippi to integrate.

An official at the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering says Mason’s name was among more than 160 submitted.

The ship is expected to begin studies in the Gulf of Mexico in 2023. It will be operated by a consortium led by USM and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Universities in every Gulf state, as well as Georgia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Mexico also are part of the group.

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