Tag Archives: Empire

Silver Weddings

A West Indian wedding party in Panama, circ 1915.

Silver Weddings of the 30’s and 40’s
Images thanks to Mr. G
eorge W. Westerman

The year 1935 was a year of firsts on the American home front. The first broadcast of “Fibber McGee and Molly” occurred on April 16, and the pop icon Elvis Presley was also born that year. It was also the year that the U.S. Congress accepted FDR’s “New Deal” package.

In Panama, 1935 was the year my parents decided to formalize their romance and get married. It turned out to be quite a shindig, one that many friends and family members would remember for years to come since my father, Cobert did not stint in so far as paying for the best of preparations, attire, food and vehicle transport and church arrangements. In fact, the “Silver” weddings of the 30’s and 40’s were usually elaborate- one might say ostentatious- affairs. Continue reading

Social Control and the “Silver” Schools

Gold Roll school at Gatun 1912.


Silver Roll school at Empire 1912.

Images are of gold roll (top ) and “silver” schools (bottom)
between 1910 and 1912. Note the marked contrast.
The black children have no playground equipment in their yard.

Images thanks to www.czimages.com

As the Canal activities expanded and the growth of the Silver townships became a bigger factor in the evolution of the Canal Zone, methods of social control of the ever larger West Indian population in and out of the Zone became a greater issue to Canal authorities. One manifestation of this need to control was in the educational system for the
Westindian children. Continue reading