Reporter who stirred storm in a teacup’
He was on the front line as history was made and his reports will ensure the events that shaped modern Bermuda will never be forgotten.
Ira Philip’s articles for The Bermuda Recorder on the developments that helped change the face of the island are preserved on the Bermuda National Library’s website.
They include his article on June 12, 1959, as plans for a theatre boycott over segregation gathered momentum.
Mr Philip wrote: “‘Down With Segregation in Theatres’. This was the wording of a big placard plastered on a wall at Scaur Hill this morning for all passers-by to see.”
His coverage five days later, on June 17, told how hundreds of people had taken part in a peaceful protest at Bermuda’s theatres, which led to desegregation.
In the same edition, Mr Philip’s interview with Bermuda General Theatre Company head James Pearman, a white politician, produced a comment that later became a symbol of the disconnect between the establishment and large segments of the community.
Mr Pearman told Mr Philip that he regarded island-wide boycott of theatres as “a storm in a teacup”.
Historians Dale Butler and Eva Hodgson later wrote a book about the boycott entitled A Storm in a Teacup: The 1959 Bermuda Theatre Boycott and its Aftermath.
On January 12, 1963, Mr Philip wrote how the Governor had signed the Franchise Bill into law.
The Bermuda Recorder ran the headline: “So Bermuda gets Parliamentary Democracy Plus — that’s one vote for some, two for others.”
Mr Philip wrote: “For the first time in Bermuda’s 300-year history, if an adult is old enough, he or she can vote for their representatives in parliamentary elections; and if they are lucky enough to own land — well, they can cast two votes at elections.”
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