Via The Washington Post: Shipwreck survivor recalls how town altered his idea of race. I have this link from Peter Wood—a retired professor emeritus from Duke University, whom I improbably met earlier this month in a B&B in Placentia, Newfoundland. How likely is that two white black historians would meet so far from home? Excerpt:
The woman cradled Lanier W. Phillips's head in her arm as if he were a baby, gently feeding the shipwrecked sailor hot soup she had brewed to help save his life. "Swallow," she said gently. "Swallow."
Phillips could scarcely believe what was happening: a white woman caring for a black man as if he were her son. Back home in Georgia, he thought, she could have been run out of town, and he could easily have been lynched.
But Phillips wasn't in Georgia. He was in the tiny coastal mining community of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, with its population of about 1,000. It was February 1942. He was an 18-year-old Navy mess attendant, steeped in the segregation of the American South and the U.S. Navy. Yet as he rested in the tender care of a rural housewife named Violet Pike, the course of his life, he said, was altered forever.
Scarred in the crucible of racism, he vowed to live like the people who saved him.