The Panama Tribune masthead
For me becoming literate would come during those times of feeling really isolated as a child, as I have mentioned in previous posts. It was also during these moments in my life that I’d lie in bed in the early mornings intently listening to the neighbors’ boys, all Panamanian Westindian, above our little room on Mariano Arosemena Street leave for their Canal Zone Silver School wishing I were one of them. We had known this particular family since arriving in Panama from the home of our grandparents in the City of Colon after the fire of 1940 which destroyed most of the Atlantic coast city. Continue reading
Original headquarters of the Panama America newspaper and its English edition, The Panama American. Image courtesy of EPASA
The Panama Tribune covered many stories of local or national interest that had great bearing on people’s lives. It became probably the most popular of the English Language newspapers for the black West Indian communities of both the Canal Zone and the terminal cities of Panama and Colon.
There was the article of October 20, 1946 that ran “Will Admit Students of Panama of ‘Restricted’ Class:” A new decree for groups classified as ‘Prohibited Immigrants’ by the administration of Don Enrique Jimenez. Children of this group between the ages of 15-30 years, who desire to further their education in secondary school, will be admitted to enter Panama. This is due to the U.N. Charter and Article 21 of the New Constitution (of 1946) opposed to racial discrimination.” In upcoming posts we will get into the intricacies of the Constitution of 1941, in particular, that turned native born children of Westindian descent into “prohibited immigrants.” Continue reading
Vintage images of the Old Biblioteca Nacional Courtesy of their website binal.ac.pa.
Accustomed as I’ve been since my college days of spending hours pouring over ancient volumes, archives and records in the venerable libraries of New York City (The N.Y. City Public Library) and several other branches, I must say, going to peer into the pages of The Panama Tribune here in Panama was an experience. Upon telling the woman behind the circulation counter which newspaper I wanted to consult she invited me to take a seat in the periodical area and proceeded to hand me a pair of latex gloves and a dust mask. Continue reading
The Panama Tribune’s masthead.
The West Indian English Language Press in Panama From the moment the great bulk of West Indians arrived on the Isthmus to participate in the construction of the Great Waterway they, as well as a few American entrepreneurs, began a veritable tradition in putting their feelings, experiences, needs and wants into press- in English. The English Language Press has an interesting if not always consistent history on the Panamanian isthmus and, thanks, for the most part, to Mr. Anthony MacLean’s chronology, a unique publication outlining the West Indian participation in this history, we’ve been able to encapsulate it for our readers. Where ever and whenever possible we’ve cited circulation figures. Continue reading