The George W. L. Westerman Collection at the Arthur Schomburg Branch (in Harlem) of the New York Public Library.
In continuing our sojourn through the history of the English language press in Panama the editorial in The Panama Tribune of Sunday 28 July of 1946 merits a closer look. In this weekly newspaper, the only newspaper which published literary expressions by Westindians for Westindians in the history of the Panamanian community, we saw reflected in its pages the historic turn of events that were shaping the lives of the Westindian community. 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
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