Tag Archives: West Indian workers

You Won’t Find Our Story in Any History Book

By sixth grade my Spanish School experience led me to conclude that our teachers wanted us more Spanish than Westindian. So unique were we, however, that being ourselves made us quite different; at least that is what I thought. Continue reading

Negative Impact on Barrio Life

The Tribute page from the Panama Tribune (1947)
Honors the Silver Workers.
Note the Letter from Gov. Mehaffey to the
Tribune’s Editor, George Westerman.

With time I would come to know my father’s brother, my uncle by the name of Newton, whom I would meet at a time when he had refused to work in the old Canal Zone. He took up residence in a one room apartment with a view from across the chain link fence and railroad tracks that marked the borders between Panama and the white “Gold Roll” Canal Zone. Continue reading

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

Recapitulation of Recorded History 1880- 1889

Hand car ride along the old Panama Rail Road about 1856
image www.classroomclipart.com

The intermission of the canal works between the year of 1889 and 1904 had the researchers following the Westindians to the region of Bocas Del Toro where an American by the name of Minor C. Keith, along with his brothers and several relatives, had been running a thriving operation which he incorporated as the United Fruit Company in 1885 (Adams 1914)(Stephens 1887). Continue reading

A Special Issue on the First Labor Day of the Silver People Chronicle: A Homage to the West Indian Silver Worker

image thanks to www.canalmuseum.com

The old and new Panama Canal Zone, and, in fact, the whole country of Panama, would have never come to be what it is today had it not been for the persevering attitude of the black Silver employees. Despite the hardships found by those young black men who first arrived in the area of the canal construction project, some of them as young as fourteen years old, they continued to persevere. Continue reading

From Bocas: The Call for Strikes Up-The-Line

Clipart provided by Classroom Clipart

The call to “Stop the Work!” went out up-the-line from Bocas del Toro and spread like wild fire through Chiriqui and the plantation areas of Costa Rica, even reaching remote points in Central America.The action was so far reaching that it surprised even the bosses.The actions brought to remembrance the days of slave uprisings in Jamaica, as black men united and laid down their tools heading home to the shacks or barracks they called home. Later, they would quietly await further instructions of what they should do next. Much to their horror, the stories of plantations being burnt and the precious fruit destroyed by angry exploited workers reached the labor leaders. Continue reading