Solidarity from Our British Audience- The Windrush Foundation

The Windrush with a boatload of West Indian Immigrants headed for the United Kingdom.  Image thanks to The Windrush Foundation

The Windrush with a boatload of West Indian Immigrants headed for the United Kingdom. Image thanks to The Windrush Foundation

We found out just how far reaching our writings and the purpose behind our research and writings has been when we were contacted by a speaker for the Windrush Foundation from Britain, Mr. Vasco Stevenson.  He had been reading our web pages with great interest in view of the fact that he had to prepare a presentation for his organization to present in London’s City Hall.  When he came across  our contributing poet, Louis Emanuel, he had to ask us for permission to use them in his presentation.

We had to publish this letter from Mr. Stenvenson feeding us back his thoughts and reactions and how the presentation went.  Once again, we are impressed with the power of the World Wide Web to reach out.  We also want to re-emphasize our vehement call for justice regarding the kinds of baneful and demoralizing practices inflicted on our ancestors such as “The Back Punch,” and the fact that thousands of the Silvermen and women were never paid their retirement and legitimate worker’s benefits by the American Canal Commission. Continue reading

The Diggers in Memoriam

¡Viva Panamá!

¡Viva Panamá!

Black West Indian diggers.

Black West Indian diggers.

Panama skyline from San Felipe.

Panama skyline from San Felipe.

Today, being November 3rd and a day of consecration to the spirit of patriotism in Panama as the Day on which Panama separated from Colombia on November 3, 1903, we thought it a perfect opportunity to post another one of Mr.  Louis Emanuel’s poems.  It is yet another reminder of the enormous debt that Panama has with the British West Indian workers and their descendents for making Panama a prosperous and modern nation.  Due, in large part, to their contributions we can all truly feel a part of our patriotic fervor this month.   Continue reading

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