Tag Archives: social-control-on-the-Panama-Canal-Zone

The Panama Canal Zone Police- Part I

Empire Police Station circa 1910

The Canal Zone Police at Empire about 1913
image thanks to czimages.com

Joaquin Beleño, authof of Gamboa Road Gang Image thanks to El Siglo.

The need for order and control was an obvious requisite if the goal of constructing the canal was to be met. The Panama Canal Police force, established by the Canal officials, was empowered by the administration to enforce social control in the numerous ways at their disposal. In the early years three different police units existed. 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

Social Control and Coping Mechanisms for the Silver Roll

The chain link fence around the “American Cemetery” in Corozal today is
reminiscent of the chain link fence of the Canal Zone

As our history of the Silver People unfolds these crucial times would become marked by a first generation of Westindian youth that would seek to develop their own coping mechanisms for the progressively tighter and systematic forces of social control imposed by the Canal Zone authorities. Since they had been born into a system that rejected them from birth to the grave they found some creative as well as direct and indirect ways of countering these negative forces in their lives. Many countered, if they could, by simply refusing to work on the Canal Zone. Continue reading