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The Afro-Caribbean Diaspora in Panama Professor Ifeoma C.K. Nwankwo Dept. of English and Center for Latin American Studies.

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Presentation on theme: "The Afro-Caribbean Diaspora in Panama Professor Ifeoma C.K. Nwankwo Dept. of English and Center for Latin American Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Afro-Caribbean Diaspora in Panama Professor Ifeoma C.K. Nwankwo Dept. of English and Center for Latin American Studies

2 Session Overview  Part 1  Introducing VFOA  CLAS-VFOA resources for educators  Part 2  Historical Background—Panamanian West Indians  Case study—Women’s Voices  Part 3  Curriculum Development Activity

3 Voices from Our America™  Description, Goals, and History  Filling in gaps in existing source base  Grandparents  VU Center for Latin American Studies  Teachers shaping the future

4 CLAS AND VFOA  New resources for teachers  New perspectives on and from Latin America  New departure point for teaching about the African Diaspora in Latin America

5 Historical Background  Origins of Panamanians of West Indian Descent  Slavery and Emancipation in the Caribbean  Haiti, Cuba, and the Caribbean Economy  Legacies of British Colonialism  U.S. Activity in Panama/Colombia

6 Historical Background  West Indians involved in:  Building the Panama Railway ( )  Constructing the Panama Canal ( )  Managing the Panama Canal (1914- Present)  Growing the United Fruit Company (1899- )

7 Historical Background  Cultural roots of Panamanians of West Indian Descent  Oral Traditions—Sayings, Onomatopoeia, History  e.g. “Cockroach no bizniz a fowl yard”  Rhetorical Jousting  Victorian values  Education—the three Rs  Morality and Propriety

8 New Resources from CLAS and VFOA  Website   Digital Library  php  Educators’ Blog  teachers-lounge-8/ teachers-lounge-8/

9 Living Primary Sources  Key issues addressed include:  Growing up in the Canal Zone  Working in the Canal Zone  Racial Pride  Racial Discrimination  Laws re: Citizenship  Political Activism (Stories and Silences)  Family Values and Traditions  Youth Not Interested in Their History  Bilingualism and Language-based Prejudice  Experiences in School; Key Teachers; Being a Teacher  Music–Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Reggae, Calypso, Christian, Hip Hop, Reggae en español/Reggaeton  Relationships with the USA (Music, Migration, School)

10 The Educators’ Blog  Introduction  Your comments and queries on  “How I Became and Artist” lesson plan  “Teachers’ Lounge”  “Words of Wisdom”  “Book of the Month”

11 The Noble Heroes of Panama  Ruben Blades, “West Indian Man” Came from the sea to Panama To work in the jungle and build the Canal He got paid in silver, the white man in gold And the yellow fever took everyone’s soul … West Indian Man, I want to recognize your iron will, your sacrifice. You gave your life to build a path So oceans could meet inside the heart of Panama.

12 Perspectives on Women  Calypso sung by Professor Leslie George “I’m tired of living alone, I want a woman to call my own,… I want a woman who knows how to cook, knows how to wash, clean, and when I get home from work kiss me and call me ‘papacito’.”

13 Perspectives on Women  Poem by Dr. Carlos Russell, “Glamor Gal” She put on she escudun and walk with a lot of piquete. When she stroll down the street every boy she a deh meet She bat she eyes and sway she hips and walk with a lot of piquete.

14 Women’s Voices and Views  Excerpts from An Old Woman Remembers by Carlos Russell .”The morning the boats sailed…/there was a lot of bawling…all of the women folks them/as if in chorus/just started to cry and cry”  Now me have great grandchildren…/Some of them I don’t understand…/they don’t want to speak English…/they name is Griffith or Blackman/and they don’t speak English/That’s stupid!

15 Women’s Voices and Views  Clip from Interview with Grace Maynard Clark “my grandmother was a person of, of very strong character, a person with very good principles, who, even though she didn’t study that much, read a lot, and explained things to you, one of the main things that we knew is that we should study and become somebody, and that we were important…”

16 Women’s Voices and Views  From interview with Grace Maynard Clark “one of the things when we were growing up, there will always be this expression of, uh, the Latins would call us chombo, and one of the things that my grandmother always emphasized is, yes, number one, they shouldn’t be calling you chombo.”

17 Women’s Voices and Views  From interview with Grace Maynard Clark “another thing that she did unto me was very important - i- in growing up, the kind of integration of the blacks in the, in the community, it was important for, for us to, to be bilingual, not that we don’t speak English and only speak Spanish, so when there was, will be the problems of eh, if you are in trouble because you speak English, that’s no problem, she says, you need to dominate both.”

18 Women’s Voices and Views

19  From interview with Melva Lowe de Goodin “Now that we have control of the Canal now everybody’s seeing the need for English. And we have the unfortunate thing that those of us of Afro Caribbean descent who had parents or grandparent who spoke English many of those people didn’t give their grandchildren or great grands the language and those people now are at a disadvantage now at getting jobs and doing well in school... Because at one time we were so eager to fit in that we shied away from using our mother tongue.”

20 Women’s Voices and Views  From interview with Melva Lowe de Goodin “I’d like to communicate [to the other generations whether it’s the younger generations or the older generations] that we should be proud of who we are… I think we have to know a little bit about ourselves to be proud about who we are. It’s a struggle that you and a number of people like myself are involved in... I think it’s also important for us to never lose sight of the value of education. I think many of our forefathers placed a greater store on education than some of the younger families that I see today.”

21 Women’s Voices and Views

22 Curriculum Development Activity  Identify and discuss one or more of the themes in Melva Lowe de Goodin’s interview  Discuss how you could integrate the material into your own curriculum  Outline a lesson plan, as time allows  Share any suggestions on CLAS and VFOA can help you do that

23 Curriculum Development Activity  Are there other women in your lives or in the literatures, cultures, or histories you teach about whose voices could be integrated into school curricula?  How might you do that?


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