West Indian drilling gang 1912, getting ready to bore holes in the side of hills to place dynamite. Image thanks to National Archives.
by Roberto A. Reid
Labor Day memories for us at the Silver People Chr onicle and the Silver People Heritage Foundation is a time to reflect on the amount of damage our culture and heritage endured during past administrations of the Panama Canal who were custodians of archives and records; records that still have attached to them specific orders for them not to be released to us descendants as private or institutional researchers. We deem those records an important part of our human rights and part of our natural Intangible historic and cultural heritage. As many of you who follow this blog have discovered, they are extremely important for those of us who wish to reconstruct our pass and the life of our Silver Panama Canal Zone ancestry. Continue reading
One of the many nameless "Men of Brawn" who made up the bulk of the West Indian Silver Roll workforce. Should he survive to retirement age, he (or she) could expect the grand sum of $25.00 per month.
by Lydia M. Reid
We want to wish all of our U.S. readers and their families a safe and happy Labor Day during this cherished weekend in which the working men and women are honored and remembered.
This is also a perfect moment to highlight an all-too-widespread occurrence during the repatriation process experienced by the Silver men and women of the Panama Canal Zone. Just as reports of grand opportunities to leave poverty and semi-slavery behind by seeking work on the Panama Canal construction circulated throughout the West Indies during the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s, thus bringing thousands of hopeful individuals to Panama, new reports during repatriation would reveal a terrible reality. Continue reading
The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal
by Lydia M. Reid
Julie Greene, Labor Historian and author at University of Maryland, has recently synthesized the history of American expansion through the completion and operation of the Panama Canal in her excellent analysis:
The Canal Builders: Making America’s Empire at the Panama Canal
It is an exceptional read and we took the liberty of reprinting the synopsis of her book below from the pages of the AFL-CIO web site entitled Lessons from the Panama Canal. Our thanks to them. Continue reading