Tag Archives: Lodges-and-Fraternal-Orders-in-Panama

Goodbye to Baseline

Image is of the Mechanics Lodge posing for a group picture with their families.  About 1912 at Isla Colon.  Just as in Colon and Panama City the Lodges made up a very important part of the life of the West Indian Panamanian society.  Image thanks to Sr. José Price.

Image is of the Mechanics Lodge posing for a group picture with their families. About 1912 at Isla Colon. Just as in Colon and Panama City the Lodges made up a very important part of the life of the West Indian Panamanian society. Image thanks to Sr. José Price.

These were the times of the Panamanian presidency of Ernesto de la Guardia, Jr., while we remained in Baseline, today known as the area of Changuinola in Bocas del Toro Province. However, today I would probably not recognize that same Changinola River area I got to know the first day I ventured up there to seek work back in 1956. But, it was an area that my co-workers and I would get to know as home and we shared many adventures together as plantation laborers just as my West Indian forefathers had done years before. At this point in my life, now with a new baby and a wife in tow, I was ready to depart from this tainted land for me, swearing that I would never go back. Nevertheless, I started meeting new friends. Continue reading

The Mutual Aid Societies- A Regrettable Disunity

Old Folks Home, Panama City, Panama. 1930's

In the image we see a 1950 group of old timers and
indigent people being treated to some Christmas
Cheer by one of the Mutual Aid Societies in Panama City.

Just as the growing Silver settlements and townships in Panama were gaining an identity and a reputable presence in the Republic with their hard work ethic, their ability to inject strong economic viability into our tiny Isthmian country and their new, urban cultural influences, the ogre of disunity started to rear its ugly head time and again to bring down the many positive gains “with their own hands.” Continue reading

The Evolution of the Elks in Panama

The image shows a curious plaque in Kentucky
outlining the history of the I.B.P.O.E.
Image is copyrighted and the property of
Josh Flowers.

The following brief history of the I.B.P.O.E. from their official web site serves as a basis for the evolution of the Elks lodges in Panama and the Panama Canal Zone and the major cities and areas where Westindian Panamanians founded settlements. Continue reading

The Elks

This is a replica of a typical Lodge Building as may have
been found in the Black Westindian community in Panama.
You can visit this replica at Mi Pueblito Afro-Antillano in the City of
Panama. 
Here we have a view of the Lodge Meeting Hall
inside the Lodge Building in Mi Pueblito Afro-Antillano.

by Lydia M. Reid

In our aim to explain the social institutions that grew out of the unique culture of the Silver People of Panama we continue to examine the Lodges and Fraternal Orders and especially the manner in which the Canal Zone Black community mirrored the organizations that evolved from the Black Americans. Historically, the Blacks of the Panama Canal Zone and the cities surrounding the Zone mingled and exchanged ideas with their Black American counterparts thus leading to the formation of many organizations and institutions with highly similar goals. Continue reading

The Lodges and Fraternal Orders on the Isthmus of Panama. Part III

This is the three chain links symbol of the Odd fellows
intertwined with the “R” and a dove, representing peace, inside the letter “D.”

Image thanks to www.keystoneparanormal.com


In the uncertain, ever changing and often hostile scene of the Panama Canal Zone and the two major cities of Colon and Panama City, the original Silver People were confronted with an intimidating lack of infrastructure to help them achieve the economic and social stability they so avidly sought. Continue reading

The Lodges and Fraternal Orders on the Isthmus of Panama. Part II

This image of a Masonic symbol is thanks to
www.masonicworld.com

When we speak of the existence of lodges and fraternal organizations in the Black Canal Zone– the lodges of the Silver People- we are talking about organizations that fundamentally mirrored the white lodges and fraternal orders. We’re ever conscious that everything on the Canal Zone, even up to the 1970’s, was segregated by race, and the formation of lodges and fraternal organizations was no less immune from this recurring condition. Continue reading