Tag Archives: Edward-Aston-Gaskin

Canal Zone Pensioners

Photo: Silver Roll laborers and a foreman doing work in a tunnel from 1907.  As you can see the majority of the workers are Westindian.


While I was beginning to enjoy a few brief moments of glory at The National Institute, the senior members of our Silver People, especially the pensioners were seeing very dark days.  As most of them struggled to keep body and soul together on the most miserly monthly pension from the Canal Zone of $25.00, the future of the veterans of what Colonel George W. Goethals had termed the war on the Culebra Cut seemed grim.  After all, just because people retire doesn’t mean that they no longer have a future. Continue reading

The Silver Townships- Red Tank Part III

A Young image of Teacher Edward A. Gaskin. Image thanks to Mr. Anthony McLean.

President Remon Cantera just before his assisination in 1955.

Images: Top: A Young image of Teacher Edward A. Gaskin
Courtesy of Mr. Anthony McClean, Editor of Dia de la Etnia Negra
Bottom: Image of President Jose Antonio Remon Cantera (left)
shortly before his assasination in 1955

Welcome back to our story of Edward Aston Gaskin, the Red Tank “Kid,” who took on a remarkable leadership role in fighting for the rights of Silver Roll workers. Continue reading

The Silver Townships- Red Tank – Part II

Image of Edward Aston Gaskin, Educator and Union President of Local 900
Thanks to afropanavision.com

We take this opportunity to introduce a brilliant and tireless educator from Red Tank, Edward Aston Gaskin, to highlight the richness of the cultural and intellectual legacy left by the Silver people of the Panama Canal Zone. The article is brought to you thanks to the work of Vivian Dottin, and you may find it as well as other very interesting articles at Afro-PanaVision.com. Continue reading

The Silver Townships- Red Tank- Part I

Red Tank around 1920.

The Red Tank sign today in front of the area that was once Red Tank, CZ in Panama.

The ruins of what was once Red Tank, CZ in Panama.

The origins of the town of Red Tank are, to this day unclear- not at well documented for a town that was established during the days of the construction of the Panama Canal, 1904-1914. Former surviving residents recalled there was a big water tank, painted with red lead, on a hill behind what later became the town. From this undoubtedly came the name of Red Tank, a Silver Roll community.

One account mentioned the town of Pedro Miguel Tank, a very brief distance south of the town of Pedro Miguel on a Panama Railroad timetable (schedule) as early as 1904. The recollections of the “old” people, however, are, perhaps the best and, unfortunately, the only testimony we may have left of the existence of this former very bustling Silver Township that swelled to a population of 2,200 between 1931 and 1941 (numbers were taken from the Panama Canal Company Review of 1953).

It was a town, however, as with so many other Black Canal Zone towns, that, once their usefulness had been reached they were simply “dismantled,” the families uprooted and moved somewhere else and the site of the town either flooded by the Canal waters or, as in the case of Red Tank, used as a “dump” site. By 1953 the last residents of Red Tank, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Moseley were moved to Paraiso to resettle along with many of their former Red Tank neighbors who had been moved before them. Mr. Moseley, a Canal employee for over 40 years, according to this account, had been the Salvation Army Red Tank representative for the last 3 years.

In our next post concerning Red Tank, however, we will introduce the real “substance” of Red Tank, its people, and, more importantly, its gifted people which Red Tank seemed to produce in abundance. Return with our chronicle as we profile the story of Edward Aston Gaskin, a profile in brilliance and courage.

Images: Township of Red Tank (around 1920)

Thanks to Mr. Charles Chevalier

Middle and Bottom photos of part of the ruins
of Red Tank today thanks to
Mr.Art Mokray

This story continues.