Tag Archives: Jim-Crow

Jonathan “Clyde” Parris- We Meet Again!

Here is Clyde Parris today in his Queens home. Both photos are thanks to Nicholas Diunte.

Here is Clyde Parris back in 1959.

A couple of days ago we were delighted to receive a valuable update on the life of an important figure in the athletic heritage of the Silver People of Panama.   We mentioned Jonathan “Clyde” Parris briefly in our article, “Baseball’s Roots in Panama.”  Thanks to Nick Diunte over at Yournabe.com we were treated to a newer and more personal look at the life and times of this extraordinary baseball player and all around athlete. Continue reading

Growing Public Outcry Against Racism

You have only to replace these Jim Crow
“White” or “Colored” Only signs with Gold or
Silver signs and they would be identical with
what it was like in The Panama Canal Zone.

It was a challenging time in the history of the Westindian Panamanian community when their youngsters were blatantly being denied an opportunity for an education. They would, as I’ve pointed out, receive additional and much needed support from other civic and political institutions as well. Continue reading

The First Generation of Panamanian Westindians 1914-1930

Sidney A. Young, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Panama Tribune- A Weekly Newspaper

San Miguel School in Panama
An ealy “English School” (circ. 1935)
Image courtesy of www.czbrats.com

The isolationist policies of the North Americans on the
Canal Zone forced another dispersion of some of the Jamaicans who had become aware that as Jamaicans their knowledge, skills and leadership qualities would, more than likely, not be appreciated on the “Zone.” Some Jamaicans, however, remained loyal to the Westindian community in the country remaining and setting the tone of leadership in the Black Canal Zone. Continue reading

The “Nationality Restriction”- the Demotions Begin


Images: above: An early photo
of the construction
of the Panama Canal
Administration Building
below: President William Howard Taft
responsible for the “Nationality Restriction”

For the
Silver roll, whether they were West Indian or Black American citizens, every aspect of their lives would be segregated and generally inferior in quality to that offered to the members of the favored Gold roll workers. The separate housing areas then would become small cities that were also kept apart. Thus, all these rules and policies had started becoming a reality as soon as the army of West Indian Blacks had given their all to secure and clean most of the area, making Panama livable for human habitation. Continue reading

1904 – The Gold and Silver Roll System

A 1904 Gold Dollar
Double Eagle, Liberty Head Design
Image thanks to www.wikipedia.com

By now you may be wondering at all my references to the Silver Roll and the Silver People. Established by the Canal authorities in 1904, the Gold and Silver Roll system, the imported version of “Jim Crow,” or the racially segregated system of the United States, became the foundation for Panama Canal Zone society and economy until it was phased out in the 1960’s. Continue reading

The “Perpetuity” of Tension

Lynching of Ruben Stacey 1935 in the South.

Image from www.africanamericans.com

Today it is with hind sight that we reflect upon an era in which our ancestors lived as foreigners, though their children were being born and raised as Panamanians to become, for decades, a community of people who lived under tensions on both sides of the borders of the American Canal Zone. Continue reading