Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lanier Phillips: Discovery in St. Lawrence

There are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians born and bred, and then there are those who have found meaning here entirely by accident.

Lanier Phillips was one of 46 men who survived the Truxtun disaster. His story is not a simple story of survival but a story of the power of humanity. In a world of segregation and racism Mr. Phillips credits the simple generousity of the people of St. Lawrence, NL, not only with saving his life, but with their compassion - changing it forever. As a black man in the segregated south of the 50's he has said: "To experience instantly love and humanity that I didn't think existed between the races — it just changed everything for me."

This is a story that begs to be told and has had some great interest in the Newfoundland and Labrador film industry. Now the story has caught the attention of the American film industry. It has even caught the attention of Bill Cosby who invited Mr. Phillips on stage and told his story. A full length feature film is finally in the works.

The story is remniscent of a film called "Amazing Grace" that Ray Johnson likes to quote when we meet with Community Linkages. Mr. Phillips story, like Amazing Grace tells of the power of the individual, when love and compassion are the motivating factors for change. The upcoming film will perhaps offer a rare glimpse of the true virtue of rural Newfoundland and Labrador and why we so passionately love this place.

CBC interviews Lanier Phillips:

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