Director: Lalita Krishna
About the Film
Lalita Krishna's Before His Time is the astonishing story of a determined
Trinidadian doctor who immigrated to Halifax. The son of a headmaster,
Alfred Waddell set out for New York in 1923 with his young bride Amelia
Maria, dreaming of becoming a doctor.
The couple worked menial jobs to support themselves in New York. In 1928
Alfred left his family to study medicine at Dalhousie's medical school
in Halifax. Amelia Maria finally joined him with their 4 children. Graduating
in 1933, he faced the suspicions of Halifax's white and black communities
who regarded him as an "outsider." His practice took off slowly.
Members of the Chinese community were among his first clients.
Despite his own hardships, Waddell treated many isolated people who had
no access to medical care. Waddell brought medicine to far flung black
communities; spoke out against injustice; and even billeted black musicians
like Cab Calloway, when he could not get a hotel room. A champion of social
equality, Dr. Waddell raised his children with ideas of fairness and earned
the respect of an entire city.
Although he died of a heart attack before he could see many of the the
social changes he fought for, Alfred Waddell is remembered fondly his
those who benefited from his advocacy.
Filmmaker Lalita Krishna tenderly
weaves interviews, archival footage and lovely photography, in this heroic
tale of a Trinidadian doctor whose humanity helped bridge the divide between
Haifax's black and white communities.