The Panama Canal Death Tolls- Another Revealing Look

West Indian diggers digging up graves probably at Culebra.

West Indian diggers digging up graves probably at Ancon Cemetery. 1914

In preparing our presentation two years ago to the Honorable Legislators in the Asamblea Nacional we referenced our meticulous research into the death tolls of West Indian workers and the count of individuals buried in the former Silver Roll Cemeteries to bolster our petition for Bill 348 which became Law #7 of March 15, 2012 thus declaring the three former Canal Zone Cemeteries of Silver Corozal, Gatun and Mount Hope National Historic Patrimony.

According to our detailed studies in preparing statistics to our, at first, skeptical Commission on Education, Culture and Sports, our findings proved to be very close to the assertions made in other interesting accounts by respected authors on this controversial subject and it proved that the official statistical reports are grossly inaccurate. Continue reading

The Bear’s Bible

The original cover of the Biblia de Reina or, La Biblia del Oso.

The original cover of the Biblia de Reina or, La Biblia del Oso.

Casiodoro de Reina (Reyna)

Casiodoro de Reina (Reyna)

As September is Bible Month, or so it has been declared by the international authorities on the Bible, we decided to post an article highlighting the background of the Spanish version of the Holy Scriptures which has become a traditional source for Spanish Speaking Christendom, particularly Roman Catholic Christendom.

We have done so inspired by our West Indian Panamanian forefathers who, we insist, played an important role in bringing the reading and the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in English to Panama as this, their new found home, was basically a spiritual wasteland. Continue reading

The Razor Blade Haircut

Of course, this is a modern image of a black barbershop in the U.S. but, notice the planks in the background barber seats- "The Kiddie Chairs."  Image

Of course, this is a modern image of a black barbershop in the U.S. but, notice the plank in the background barber seat- “The Kiddie Chair.” Image

The story, or rather, the account, you are about to read was written by Daniel Webster, better known on the web as Ocho Gritos, posted on Facebook on 6 September on our Afro Heritage of Panama (Facebook) Group. With his permission we’ve decided to share it with you, our readers, to preserve some of the memories of the Silver People of the Black Zone. ***

The other day, I wrote on Facebook about getting a hair cut with a razor blade, and a young man commented he had never heard of this. I recognized his family but also realized he would be too young to know about this cultural aspect of black Zonian life. I grew up in Rainbow City what today is Ciudad Arco Iris. Mr. Brooms was our family barber going back generations. Continue reading

And Upon this Rock…

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“…and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18b)

So begins the brief history offered by the proud members of the Wesley Methodist Church in downtown Panama City, Panama. Continue reading

Poetic Tribute to the Silver People – Part 3


West Indian workers arriving in Panama aboard the “Cristobal.” Image is property of the ACP.

Before we bid farewell to the month of August during this year of remembrance, we wanted to post the last two poems written by our contributing poet, Mr. Louis Emanuel.  They sum up vividly how many of us felt years ago and even today.  As he put it in his message to us, “Many of us can relate to this…” Continue reading