Sometimes you never know who people have in their family trees. And Ronda Rousey’s mother was proud to let TMZ camera people know that her grandfather was one of the first black physicians in North America.
TMZ caught up with Rousey and her mother, AnnMaria De Mars, a world-renowned judo competitor and Native American activist. The camera guy asked Rousey what was the last movie she watched, and even though she tried to get him to leave her alone, De Mars proudly answered.
“Before His Time. It’s about my grandfather, Ronda’s great-grandfather. They show it during Black History Month every year in Canada because he was one of the first black physicians in North America,” De Mars told TMZ.
Before His Time tells the story of Dr. Alfred E. Waddell, a native of Trinidad who immigrated to Halifax, Canada, and became a prominent physician after years of struggle. The movie’s synopsis site states:
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.
That’s some serious family history!