The History of the Corozal and Mount Hope Cemeteries

The United States Government Isthmian Canal Commission’s segregated Cemetery at Corozal was the only active cemetery for its “Silver Roll” Employees even before 1914 when the construction of the Panama Canal was completed. The site had been a jungle and was then established as a farm to provide work for disabled Silver laborers, who also lived on parcels of land with their families.

Before February 5, 1914 when the cemetery was assigned to the superintendent of Ancon Hospital’s operational control, the cemetery remained with the Corozal Farm Supervisor and the disabled labour force which performed burials and maintenance. As the cemetery continued to expand it reached more than 63 acres.

The Panama Tribune, the only weekly newspaper read by Black people of West Indian origin in Panama at the time was published primarily for its “Silver Roll” labour readership. Mr. Sydney Young, was founder and editor in chief of the newspaper and it was not only read in the country of Panama but had readership all over Central America where West Indian laborers had settled. It is from archival copies of this historical weekly newspaper that we garnered the fascinating history of this unique burial ground and we owe it to the Tribune for one particular headline that brought the date of September 21, 1947 into significance for our research since it marked a very strong sentiment within the West Indian Panamanian community.

The startling byline “Jim Crow Cemetery Opposed” headed the story of how during the Canal Construction Period (1904-1914) the Black “Silver Roll” employees and their family members were normally buried at sites on the Atlantic coast in the area of Colon in what was known at the time as “Monkey Hill.”

The writer of the article described how the “Silver Roll” labourers appealed to the City Council of the Atlantic coast municipality of Colon, requesting they open lands for new burial grounds to accommodate Canal Zone “Silver Roll” employees and their families in that coastal region. Shortly after the petition was accepted and granted by that municipality allowing for burial at a site the Westindian people would refer to as “Mount Hope Cemetery” or “Cementerio de Monte Esperanza.” This is just a sketch of the origins of the Atlantic side cemetery.

On January 19, 1979, due to historic changes in policy, the U.S. Federal Government, regarding the Panama Canal, reorganized the Panama Canal Commission focus renaming it the Panama Canal Company. Those changes, in turn, made the Canal Company’s Ground Maintenance Division the administrative agency overseeing and controlling all cemetery grounds at the Cemetery at Corozal. Shortly after 1979, as negotiations progressed between the two countries of Panama and the United States, Executive Order 12115 was signed by President James Carter securing a permanent place totaling approximately 17 acres in size for the American portion of Corozal Cemetery.

The designation of the American Cemetery was noted in Section 1-101 of the writ of Executive Order 12115 to be a specific portion of the American Battle Monument Cemetery.

In October of 1979 the new Panama Canal Treaty became effective and the Panama Canal Company transferred Corozal Cemetery to the U.S. Army for temporary administrative control and maintenance during that period of redesign and construction of the “American portion” of the cemetery grounds supervised by the American Battle Monument Commission. A ceremony, in fact, for the transfer to the U.S. Army control of the 17 acres of the most beautiful monumental resting grounds was conducted on June 5 of 1982.

After 1982 The U.S. American Battle Monument Commission became the guardian of the American overseas commemorative cemetery at Corozal and memorials established by the U.S. Congress since 1923. The Commission has and continues to maintain the 17 acres of monuments and markers which are fenced off and segregated from the remaining 46 acres of cemetery grounds known always to the descendants of the “Silver Roll” Panama Canal Employees as the final resting place for them and their descendants.

It is, however, the segregated 46 acres portion of the former Corozal Cemetery which concern us here and which have been, throughout its history, known as the sacred burial grounds for the Black “Silver Roll” employees and their families.

Since before 1914, when the Silver Disabled Employees had been assigned as the chief keepers of all the cemetery grounds, until October of 1979 when it was turned over to the US Army for temporary administration the Silver employees had always been the principal labor force in the maintenance and administration of those grounds and it would remain so until 1982 when the Panama Canal Treaty was being culminated for the total reversion of all installations in 1999.

To date, more than 46 acres of burial grounds, which contain the remains of our “Silver” men and women and their family members, are experiencing the same grave deterioration and gross abandonment as in the past. Most of the headstones are badly worn by pollution, erosion, the passage of time, and by gross neglect. The images presented in our home page and our slide show of portions the grounds as they are today, evidence the weathering and atmospheric damage that the grave stones have undergone. The many administrative transfers and the periods of uncertainty that have gripped the impoverished grounds crew can only uphold our descriptions of the virtual abandonment the site has come to reflect.

24 responses to “The History of the Corozal and Mount Hope Cemeteries

  1. Hello Lydia:

    After reading your letter, I was not too happy, We went to Panama because it was a well deserved vacation to see family members, especially for my husband who had not seen some of his family members since he was a teenager. We are not too much of party goers only if it is a special occasion and as far as spending money on liquor, I don’t think so. I do believe that the American Government and the Panamanian Government should take more interest in making these cemeteries historical resting places for our Silver People.. I am very interested in this project and will encourage my family members to also write letters and also send donation for the cause. This is very dear to me and really appreciate the work that you and Roberto are doing to represent those of us that cannot be there. I am interested because as I said before in a previous letter that I was appalled at the condition of the cemetery on the Panananian side. I had read something somewhere but did not believe it until I saw it for myself and could not find my mother or my grandfather’s gravesites.
    Before we went to Panama , I wrote to Mr. Phelps and got a letter from his office saying that they knew where my grandmother was resting which was on the American side and that they would take us to her gravesite when we got there; and that someone would be on the other side to show us where my grandfather and mother were resting, But there was no one on the other side to take us. My brother in law drove up the hill and thought maybe I would remember where my mother was, but we did not want to get out of the car because of the condition we saw there. It was not a good feeling leaving without visiting them, but I had to whisper to let them know that I was there. That I did come to visit.
    Let me know where I could send a donation and I will pass it on to my family members that also went to visit Panama and did not like what they saw.


    • Dearest Friend and Descendant,

      We were also appalled at what we saw years ago when we started going to Corozal with more frequency to visit our dear ancestors! Worse yet when we started visiting our ancestors at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Colon!

      This is why we invested our lives, time, intellect, the little money we get as retired people, and many sleepless nights to place this issue before the Asamblea Nacional where we have had to do quite a bit of lobbying and give the Diputados a history lesson on a huge population of people- citizens of Panama- whom many of them never knew about- The Silver People. Many descendants do not realize that in Panama if you want anything done for a very important issue, it has to be backed up by some law. This is what The Silver People Law is all about. If and when it is passed we could then begin to appeal to the Panamanian government for help to protect these important Heritage Cemeteries and other sites on the Black Panama Canal Zone.

      Thank you for responding and you will be receiving a private e mail with details about donations to our cause. We really appreciate your earnest interest in this endeavor. God bless you and saludos from Panamá.

      Lydia and Roberto


  2. Lydia:

    I understand what you are saying about donating to the cause, but I really find it hard for any of us ( The families of the Silver Heritage) should have to donate to something that SHOULD be taken care of by either the Panamanian Government or the American Government, WITHOUT QUESTION these Cemeteries should be taken care of without cost to the families. The West Indians contribution to the building of the Canal (which they, The Panamanians) are enjoying today, The blood and sweat of our forefathers and mothers) should get much respect.

    I will write to the Panamanian and also to the American Government.

    Thanks for your response.


    • Judith,

      First of all, I don’t think you understand at all the nature of our mission here in Panama with regards to the resting places of our Silver ancestors. We are a “watchdog” organization and we are watching that these resting places come under governmental and private protection as Heritage Cemeteries. It has been because of the uncaring and downright disrespectful indifference of both the U.S. and Panamanian governments to our Silver People legacy that we took up the mission to bring this situation to international attention. Otherwise, you would never have found out anything about it except for your visit to Corozal.

      The donations we ask is for our organization’s many expenses that we are shouldering in order to bring this cause to world attention.

      We understand the general economic difficulties of families in the U.S. but we also have to note many Silver descendants who don’t think twice about shelling out $80 to $200 for liquor every month, or spend thousands of dollars twice or even three times a year to come and parade around and party in Panama from the States but won’t donate $1 to help restore the dignity to their ancestors’ resting places. We see this so often and it makes us ponder how much the descendants of the Silver People really care.

      But, our mission is a mandate from our God, who will provide a way. We maintain our faith whether we are joined in this battle or not since “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

      Saludos and blessings in Panama.


  3. Hello:

    I have read all the comments of the Mount Hope and Corozal Cemeteries that was taken over by the Panamanian Government, but still don’t know what is been done to restore our families resting place. I recently visited Panama and was able to visit my grandmother’s gravesite in Corozal on the American side. My grandfather and mother is on the Panamanian side and I was truly disturbed by the total disrespect of our people’s resting place. It was unkept and there was no one to direct us to their gravesite. I would be interested in finding out WHO CAN I CONTACT TO FIND OUT WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS PROBLEM. As a child my grandmother would take me to visit my mother’s grave constantly, after I became an adult I was not interested in doing so. I left Panama in 1957 and since then have returned about four times. This month( August) was the first time I decided to visit the cemetery and was appalled at what I saw, I could not believe what I saw and would really like to write to the government of Panama to complain about such disrepect to our black people, people that have worked hard for so little and got nothing in return not even in death. If you could send me an address that I could write to someone in charge of this desecration I would be greatly appreciated. Something has to be done about this situation.



    • Judith,

      We absolutely share your outrage! This is precisely why The Silver People Heritage Foundation was founded back in 2008. Since then we have diligently dedicated our lives, time and meager resources to get to the point where are right now. We have arrived at second debate in Panama’s National Assembly to pass our Law #348 which will declare these cemeteries (Silver Corozal, Mount Hope and Gatun) National Patrimony to come under protection. Everything in Panama has to be backed up by a Law. This way we can guide the restoration and preservation of these heritage burial grounds and give our ancestors the dignified recognition they deserve.

      We recommend that you and your friends and family support us with small donations and letters of support naming our Heritage Foundation. You can direct these letters to the U.S. State Department and urge them to do the right thing for our Silver People of Panama and support us in our efforts of rescue, restoration and preservation which is going to be very costly since much damage has already been done.

      We urge you to maintain your sense of outrage and keep in touch with us because NO ONE ELSE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT MATTER.


  4. I hope someone can help me with information about how to contact Mt. Hope cemetery. I’ve read recently how the cemetery officials will throw old bodies into a burial pit if maintenance fees are not paid. My relatives left Panama over 50 years ago, so I’m afraid that I’m already too late. My relatives died between 1952-1962. I’ve already tried calling Mt. Hope, but unfortunately I don’t speak Spanish.I would like to contact Mt.Hope, so that I can ask them if my relatives are still buried there? (I’ve already contacted the Corazol/US cemetery and they are not there).I want to find out how much the maintenance fees cost?


    • Dear Marie:
      I am sure that you are aware by now, of the extent that we have gone to at getting a Law pased in the National Assembly of Panama, for the Cemeteries of Mt. Hope, Silver Corozal, and Gatun Cemetery to be declared National Patrimonies and Historic and Cultural Patrimonies of Humanity. For it was not only Panama and the US that our forefathers as Silver People served, for more than a century of our modern time. So that If and when this Law passes the rules will be changed regarding exhumations and burials. But the cost of honoring our loved ones and holding on to such a Patrimony will depend on us the descendants and the people of the world, not to just one or the other govenments involved to hold and honor for perpetuity.

      Right now the yearly cost is around from $30 to $50.00, but families can purchase the plot and so not have to remember to pay the yearly fee for which our Silver People can hardly afford. Right now the work that we are doing has come to involve more that just informing you folks about these issues, but it also involves out of pocket expenses for transportation, mailing, telephone and internet costs. We have been involved now for more that two years and at this stage of the game we are only asking for you folks, who are as concerned as we are, to make very small contributions to which very few people have done for this cause. We are not at all crying foul because we had entered this struggle willingly hoping and praying daily for our God’s promise to us to be fulfilled in more ways than we can now imagine.

      So people out there who are reading these comments please get busy contacting your govenment repersentatives asking them to give you some assistance in this matter. We do what we can at our own level.


  5. Sandra Pierson

    Dear Mr. Reid,

    Thank you very much for the extensive information you have provided regarding the Mount Hope Cemeteries, the people who rest within their keeping and the struggles to maintain the dignity of the cemeteries.

    I am searching for the grave of my 3rd Great Grandfather William Parker and am hopeful you may be able to provide me with direction. Following is an excerpt from a book written in 1907 about the railroad and a reference to my Great Grandfather’s death and burial. Could William be buried at Mount Hope/Monkey Hill? Do you know of anyone who may have a list of the burials there or knowledge of his gravesite?

    I have read through every comment left and I would be very happy to join your cause to bring attention to this concern. My Great Grandfather’s wife left a spectacular diary with many details about the years in which my Great Grandfather worked on the railroad in Panama and the value he placed on all people who worked with him and who contributed to the railroad. I am positive he would be very dissappointed in what seems to be a choice to overlook the contributions of ALL who gave their time and often lives to benefit the efforts of the rail and canal construction. Who are the most influencial people to have contact with in order to bring attention to the condition of Mount Hope?

    Excerpts from the book PANAMA A Personal Record of Forty-six Years 1861-1907



    DEDICATED To the Memory of “Other voices well-loved voices, that have died”

    “Colonel A. J. Center had retired from the service to accept the general management of Wells, Fargo & Company’s business in New York, and Mr. William Parker, an engineer and railroad man formerly connected with the Fitchburg road, and later with the Baltimore and Ohio, had been appointed, early in 1861, to succeed him as superintendent. Mr. Parker was well along in years, but retained a large share of activity for the discharge of his duties. He was originally from Perth Amboy, N. J., a kindly man, paternal in his instincts, and greatly respected by the employees. He was killed by Mr. Baldwin in 1868, as will be related.”

    “In 1868 William Parker, who had been superintendent of the road on the Isthmus since the beginning of 1861, was murdered by James L. Baldwin. The latter has been favorably mentioned in the earlier part of this narrative. He served the company faithfully and well during the construction of the road, and retired with honor. After a few years he desired to reenter the service, and in consideration of his former standing and importance, the company sent him to the Isthmus to fill a sinecure position, with the title of assistant engineer. It was soon observed that he had been greatly changed by dissipation, although in deportment he was still a gentleman. He conceived a prejudice against Superintendent Parker, and openly threatened him with violence. Baldwin’s many friends deplored his conduct, and tried to influence his actions, but never suspected that he might be insane.”

    “On the morning of the murder, September 24, 1868, Parker was to leave Colon by the train for Panama, en route for San Francisco. Arrangements had been made to leave E. C. DuBois, who had recently arrived from New York, in charge of the road, as acting superintendent. This did not please Baldwin, and he behaved so strangely that William Nelson and Perez Turner of the official staff, came from Panama the night before, to prevent by their presence and friendly influence any possible display of violence. The next morning, Parker, Baldwin, Nelson, Turner, and Du Bois walked together to the railroad office, where Parker was to take the train. Everything was quiet. No word or act of Baldwin gave warning of his murderous design. He was cool and silent. The party went through the office to the front balcony, and sat down. After a moment Parker rose, went in to his desk, and was writing when Baldwin followed. Before the other three gentlemen were aware of his intention, he had fired the shot that killed his victim as he sat in his chair.”

    “Baldwin then attempted suicide with the same weapon. He fell and was supposed to be dead, but the ball did not penetrate his brain. Restored to consciousness, he was removed to the hospital, where he lingered for several weeks. At last, one stormy night, there was a report that he had died, and that his remains had been taken to Gatun Station, seven miles away, for burial; but no one could be found to vouch for the statement. A steamer left port in the darkness of that night, and suspicion grew into the accepted tradition that James L. Baldwin did not die at Colon.”

    “The remains of Mr. Parker were buried in the foreign cemetery at Panama; where the rather startling announcement may be seen, carved on his gravestone: HE WALKED WITH GOD”


    Sandra Pierson


    • Mrs. Pierson,

      We’ve read the account of your Great Grandfather, William Parker, with great interest. Indeed, it is a tragedy that his life had to end the way it did at the hands of a cruel and deranged adversary. Perhaps history might clarify for us what really did take place with his assailant.

      As far as your query about his burial place in Mount Hope is concerned, we’ve sent you an e mail to that effect and how you may get involved in what we are trying to do.

      Thank you for your wonderful comment.



  6. I am searching for a list of white Americans who died during construction of the canal. According to family history an ancestor (from Missouri) was among those who died, presumably from malaria. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.


  7. I’m not sure if I have relatives at rest in Mt. Hope, but I do remember stories my mom would tell me. I believe she lived near the cemetery as a kid. She told me they use to hear a horse and carriage going up the street after hours. Scared her to pieces. lol. She told me she never wanted to get caught outside by herself after dark near the cemetery. I wouldn’t mind visiting the area to see where my mother was raised etc.. Where are the houses near the cemetery? My mom passed 2 years ago, and I never got a chance to visit with her. Any info would be great. Her last name was Lewis. Maybe if anyone has old pics of the city from 1950’s up to post would be great! I hope they do restore Mt. Hope, not right to let a place go forgotten..


  8. Steven L. Van Allen

    I retired from the Army in Panama in 1995. I have been back many times as my wife and her large family are from Arrijan. As most areas that were formally controlled by the “GRINGOS” have been almost forgotten and not only completely neglected, they hold no interest to the Panamanian Government unless they hold a monetary value. Gee that sounds familiar in the history of Panama’s Govt. I wish you all the best in trying to find a solution to this unforgivable non-action. If I were in your shoes I would write to Sen John McCain, a former zonie, and to President Obama asking for help.


  9. my husbands parents are in the mt hope cemetery but its been about 40 years since he has been there well he is going there in may and would like to no where his parents are is there anyway to find out where they r in the cemetery his father was chinnese and mother was black he is so upset that he has seen this is happening to the cemetery when they laid his parents to rest they thought it would be forever, but he would like to put new head stones on there graves could u please help us as to where we should start. thank you


    • Chell,

      We are glad that you stopped by and could catch up with what is happening at Mt. Hope. We wondered if you have read some of the other articles in this blog? We suggest you read this one:

      We have been working hard to bring international attention to our heritage cemeteries here in Panama so that we may be able to rally help to rescue them and preserve them as you say “forever.” We make periodic trips to Colon to make follow up visits to Mt. Hope to check on the state of things and confer with the administrator and City officials.

      Please support our efforts by e-mailing us your name and mailing address so that we may place you on our mailing list. Also include the name of your loved one who is buried there and date of burial so that we may be able to locate the grave and offer some help with what you want to do.

      Please stay in touch.



  10. I have 2 members of my family buried in the Mt Hope Cemetery. My father ordered a full length italian grave stone to cover the grave of his 1st wife and a son who were buried together. When I was in the cemetery in 1986 the remains had been moved to the Corozal Cemetery. There was complete destruction of the grave marker and only 1 small corner remained. The new grave in the Corozal cemetery was not completed. It was truly not only appalling, but also a sad day.

    Bob Smith


  11. Doña Benilda,

    Thank you for your kind words of support, because our spirit cries up to our God because of the situation you describe. The images speak louder than any words to describe the deep anguish we all feel at these moments in our history. Please keep us in your prayers because prayers are important to our God. I’m sure that it was prayer that got our Westindian People through all those years of constant “Scuffling.”

    I remind us all of the need we all have for each other regardless of how depressed things might get at times.

    Good is blessing you as we connect today!

    Cobert Roberto


  12. Hello Mr. Cobert R. Reid,

    Concerning the situation at Mount Hope Cemetery, I saw it with my own eyes in 1997 while I buried my mother in July, and went back in August to bury my father. I could not believe my eyes. This was before the transferance of power in 1999.
    Mount Hope grass was like the richest green carpet made. We used to walk or skate up to the Cemetery. You know the panamanians are responsible for the Cemetery. The government is always making noises about what they want, but cannot maintain. The key word is maintain. What about the Postal System? Don’t let me go there. (smile) My grandparents are buried in Mount Hope. Both died in 1942, and were from Barbados. Grandmother’s Death Certificate was not with his paper-work, and the place I would assume handled her body, burned down years ago. They lost lots of paper-work. We have a rich history, please don’t let it die out on that side of the world.


  13. Roberto:
    Mount Hope Cemetery is so dear to me that it brings back a flood of memories. As a child I always saw it as another world.

    I know very well that the old West Indians who died and are resting there were very happy in Panama. Amidts the discrimination, they were proud of their accomplishments of participating in the construction of the Panama Canal. They also were proud of us, their beloved descendants born in Panama.

    Our ancestors loved Panama. Apart from the legacy of hard work , dedication, integrity, uprightness and culture they brought to Panama, it’s the great everlasting love that I cherish the most.



  14. Roberto:
    Mount Hope Cemetery holds a special place in the heart of Atlantic coast Black Zonians and the people of the city of Colon Our ancestors are buried in Mount Hope.

    I remember how as children we used to make fun of the different sections within the cemetery.Yes, there was a Chinese section, a Black or Panamanian section,etc.
    I just believe a cemetery should be the last place in this world to be divided into ethnic sections.The powers that be couldn’t help themselves, they certainly lost their minds with that .

    When I was a little child, the Americans celebrated Memorial Day parade and events right there in the cemetery. Rainbow people never missed those celebrations.

    As a child I used to accompany my mom to visit her father’s grave. My mother would clean her father’s grave all by herself then talk to her father.I would look around embarrassingly hoping no one was watching us.

    My sister and I do the same thing now with my father who is buried in Mount Hope.When we visit his grave, we have an attendant cut the grass and clean his tombstone, then we both tell my father how much we love and missed him.

    I look forward to hearing about measures to rescue Mount Hope.



  15. Pete,

    I’m so glad you have been able to visit the Corozal Cemetery lately- it is a disturbing experience to see the “utter abandonment of reverent memory,” as you have so eloquently stated, of the authorities. The cemetery was reverted to municipal authorities but, as you can see with Corozal and with most of the over 30 cemeteries they have under their administration, they are not able to keep up.

    Please check this site for more updates on the situation and on the measures we are taking to rescue Corozal Cemetery and Mt. Hope in Colon.

    We welcome your comments and anecdotes.



    • Re. Mt. Hope Cementery…it’s a shame that such a historically valuable site has been so neglected by the Panamanian authorities. It’s a desacration of gravesites of so many brave and proud men and women that built the canal and their descendants labored at the canal and are buried there. But you know what? Like many people I saw that coming. I just didn’t see munipal governments having the resources and motivation to maintain the high stadards of the cementery. Especially with Panamanian Governments that held nothing but resentment nad disdain for the West Indian, Asians, Americans other people that contributed to the canal. It should be no surprise that Mt. Hope and the West Indian/Panamanian section of Corozal went down the drain. On a list of 1000 things, maintaining these cementeries well kept and managed probably didn’t even make the list. Simply they just didn’t care.

      Mt. Hope was such a well kept, beautiful place back in the Canal Zone days, even though it was administered under Apartheid like policies. It’s also worth noting that one could walk and wonder in cementery without fear of the violence, bandits, and gangsters that make doing so unthinkable today. As a kid and teenager growing up in the 60s I remember the various sections of cementery and their misterious old graves and tombs. Back in this time, Mt. Hope was our grandest playground…we would play, ride bikes, and slide down hills in home-made box cars. It was a clean and safe haven, as long as you got out of Mt. Hope before dark…for the ghosts didn’t take kindly to kids wondering around in the dark…as you can imagine there is no shortage of stories about that.
      Both my parents are buried in Mt. Hope (or Monte Esperanza ). I had’t been back in a long time when I went to bury them and I was shocked and angered by the conditions of the place. I remember arriving a day late for another relative’s funeral, and asked my brother in Panama to take me to visit. He told me it wasn’t a safe place to be even in daylight hours. When we went we were constantly looking over our shoulders and checking for suspicious people around. Apparently muggings and assault of people visiting graves is a common occurrence….what a sad situation. Is there any hope that the situation (security and maintenance) at Mt. Hope and the non-American section of Corozal will improve?

      I have been subscribing to your website for almost 4 years. I appreciate you and the work you do.



      • Jaime,

        It is good to finally hear from you. You know, comments for sites like ours are more than just a venting of opinions. Comments are “feedback” in every sense of the word; something which we need in order to affirm our convictions that what we are doing for the restoration and preservation of our heritage is correct and something we can proudly leave to our posterity and humanity.

        We welcome all comments but, please, don’t be stingy with them and please send us (even if through a private e-mail) your full name and contact particulars so that we may include you on our mailing list of people who are convinced that there is a lot we can do and are doing to value our heritage.

        Again, thank you and do stay in touch.



  16. Thank you for all your work, and for making it availabe through your website. Thank you particularly for your work and publication regarding “Silver” cemeteries in Panama.

    I am from a “Gold Roll” family, and have recently visited graves of some four generations of my ancestors buried at Corozal American Cemetery which is, after the new treaty, maintained beautifully by the American Battlements whatever of the US.

    As a little boy I remember going there and being taken by my father to graves not far from my relatives–they were the graves of “local rate” people he knew. When I returned I found the separation between the “American” section and the larger cemetery to be an impossible divide. There is a fence, yes, but the careful maintenence of the “American” secion and the abandonment of the surrounding graveyard is extreem. And I’m not just talking about jungle growth–that can be “romantic”–I’m talking about utter abandonment of reverent memory by the authorities.

    Is this an issue for the US? Or, is this an issue for Panama’s government? Who is responsible now for the enforced maintence of construction era graves of what were non US citizens who were the laborforce backbone of US efforts in what was then US controled territory?

    The American Cemetery does provide an excellent model for documenting each grave, and for maintence. Does anybody know if there exists any current effort to make the Silver section of this and Mt. Hope cemeteries national Panamanian historic cemeteries? (I did notice that Panama seems to be caring for the old French Cemetery near Paraiso).

    Are there any extant records from old American days of “Silver” burials in the Zone?


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