Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882-1923

Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882-1923

by Frederick Douglass Opie
     
 

ISBN-10: 0813033713

ISBN-13: 9780813033716

Pub. Date: 07/28/2009

Publisher: University Press of Florida

In the late nineteenth century, many Central American governments and countries sought to fill low-paying jobs and develop their economies by recruiting black American and West Indian laborers. Frederick Opie offers a revisionist interpretation of these workers, who were often depicted as simple victims with little, if any, enduring legacy.

The Guatemalan

Overview

In the late nineteenth century, many Central American governments and countries sought to fill low-paying jobs and develop their economies by recruiting black American and West Indian laborers. Frederick Opie offers a revisionist interpretation of these workers, who were often depicted as simple victims with little, if any, enduring legacy.

The Guatemalan government sought to build an extensive railroad system in the 1880s, and actively recruited foreign labor. For poor workers of African descent, immigrating to Guatemala was seen as an opportunity to improve their lives and escape from the racism of the Jim Crow U.S. South and the French and British colonial Caribbean.

Using primary and secondary sources as well as ethnographic data, Opie details the struggles of these workers who were ultimately inspired to organize by the ideas of Marcus Garvey. Regularly suffering class- and race-based attacks and persecution, black laborers frequently met such attacks with resistance. Their leverage--being able to shut down the railroad--was crucially important to the revolutionary movements in 1897 and 1920.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813033716
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
Publication date:
07/28/2009
Series:
Working in the Americas Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

1 Historical Context: Race and Labor in Guatemala 8

2 Race, Resistance, and Revolution in the Late Nineteenth Century 28

3 Race Relations on the Early-Twentieth-Century Caribbean Frontier 41

4 Revolvers, Shotguns, Machetes, and Clubs: The Strikes of 1909-1919 52

5 Labor Radicalism on the Caribbean Coast: Ladino Mobilization in Guatemala, 1920-1923 66

6 We Depend on Others Too Much: Garveyism and Labor Radicalism in the Caribbean Basin 87

Epilogue 97

Notes 103

Bibliography 125

Index 139

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