West Indian Labor in the Construction of the Panama Canal 1904 -
Issued on August 15, 1951.
Article from the Panama Canal Review, August 3, 1951
Copied and Submitted on Zone Link By Skeeter.
to the part taken by West Indians in the construction
of the Panama Canal will be officially paid August 15
(1951), anniversary of the opening of the waterway,
by the issue of a special commemorative stamp.
new ten-cent stamp shows a group of laborers at work
in Culebra (Gaillard) Cut. It was designed by Meade
Bolton, former Panama Canal Architect.
idea for the commemorative stamp was conceived by
George W. Westerman, of Panama City, well known
writer and civic leader among West Indian groups on
the Isthmus and their Panamanian off spring. A public
testimonial ceremony honoring Governor Newcomer and
paying tribute to Mr. Westerman has been planned by
the West Indian Stamp Appreciation Committee. It will
be held August 15 in Mount Hope Stadium. Invited to
participate are representatives of the Armed forces,
Panama Government, churches, schools, patriotic and
civic groups, labor representatives, and Governments
of the West Indies. Other plans include a "West
Indian Week" observance in the Canal Zone public
schools; an essay contest among students from the
fifth grades to the high school level; a special
supplement of "The Panama Tribune," and an
exhibit by the Panama Canal Library. Upwards of
50,000 West Indians took part in digging the Canal.
Over 30,000 contract laborers were brought to the
Isthmus by the Isthmian Canal Commission, of whom
approximately two-thirds were recruited in Barbados.
Several thousands emigrated to the Canal Zone from
Jamaica, although only 37 were recruited there under
contract. Other West Indian Islands represented among
the contract workers were Fortune Island, Guadeloupe,
Martinique, Trinidad, Curacao, St. Kitts, St. Lucia,
St. Vincent, Grenada; and British Guiana.