In a personal search for cultural values, that I have estimated had seriously started when I was a child of eight years old, the dig and prodding of my grandmother was just the beginning. Throughout the years oral accounts that I had simply classified as interesting stories, though some were tragic accounts of the life of family members, turned out to be just traces of what I was to understand was just some of the accounts that would make up the history of my people.
The Westindian people of the Republic of Panama seemed to come into being with the birth of the new republic, in the month of November of the year 1903. In fact our people were present in this part of the continent a little before the later half of the XIX Century in large groups of men. The attraction to this part of the mainland for men just emerging out of conditions of slavery was very strong. These Black English speaking young men, who only knew that they had hard labor to offer their new employers, to me was to be extremely brave.
Throughout my years of studying the development of Black peoples on both side of the spectrum of our historic interaction, my search has led me to recognize two sets of Black cultures. I would discover that I belonged to the Black people of English and Iberian extraction since the days of slavery in the Americas. It is here in the country of Panama that I have found that marked historic circumstances have offered opportunities for both of these groups of peoples to meet. Although the circumstances in the creation of a servant class of people were the same for both groups of blacks, the grounds for these black players became leveled in Panama.
The leveling factors were somewhat simpler for the Westindian Blacks who came to work on the First Continental Railroad in 1855, and later on the first Panama Canal. They had always been in demand for their ability to speak English which was the language spoken by the bosses in charge of the projects in progress. In fact I feel like a living museum, one of the miracles of that age which is surely passing by without being chronicled from the point of view of one of the participants, who was also an avid observer.
As a child I observed my surroundings closely and developed a good memory so that I could describe the life style of cultures which arose out of a mixture of young men and people who did not know each other; men who looked suspiciously at each other, and in fact did not know or care about each others life or homeland.
This brief preamble should serve for us to get acquainted with what this subject will be for those of you history buffs who take the time to visit this site.
This story continues.