Tag Archives: repatriations-from-the-Panama-Canal

Repatriates’ Tales- Part II

Repatriates headline from The Panama Tribune January 1950.  Things were looking very dim for the Jamaican repatriates from Panama according to the article.

Repatriates headline from The Panama Tribune January 1950. Things were looking very dim for the Jamaican repatriates from Panama according to the article.

As I said in Part I of Repatriates’ Tales, the reception encountered by most repatriates back to their island homes in the decades following the completion of the Panama Canal, especially the 50’s and 60’s, was far from warm.  Most readers reacted to Part I with sadness, distress and even disbelief but we received no anecdotes or stories relating to a friendlier, more benign reaching out to their returning brethren who had undergone the rigors of life as economic refugees in Panama. We are still waiting for such stories. Continue reading

Advertisements

Repatriates’ Tales- Part 1

This couple's photo was taken on the day of their repatriation back to St. Lucia from Panama

This couple’s photo was taken on the day of their repatriation back to St. Lucia from Panama. Image The Panama Canal Review, Nov. 1950

Until just recently I was under the misguided assumption that most repatriates from Panama back to their island homelands were met with a warm and welcoming reception from family and childhood friends. In conversing with several of our seniors, however, I was chillingly set straight. Most repatriates from the Panama Canal Zone and or the urban centers of Panama City and Colon were usually met with hostility, disdain, hatred and, worse of all, envy. Continue reading

A Wretched Cargo

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