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.
Tribute 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.
The 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.
The 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.