Black Panamanians, unlike other Aftro-Latin communities, have traditionally separated themselves based on ancestral heritage: on one hand are those whose ancestors were slaves during the colonial period; on the other are those whose families arrived from the West Indies to help build the Panama Railroad and Canal. In this book, Watson assesses how Panamanian literature represents this historical and continuing tension.
Introduction: Race, language and national identity in Afro-Panamanian literary discourse National rhetoric and suppression of Black consciousness in poems by Federico Escobar and Gaspar Octavio Hernández Anti-West Indianism and anti-imperialism in Joaquín Beleño's Canal Zone trilogy Revising the canon : historical revisionism in Cubena's trilogy West Indian/Caribbean consciousness in works by Melva Lowe de Goodin, Gerardo Maloney, Carlos Wilson, and Carlos E. Russell Beyond Blackness? : new generation Afro-Panamanian writers Melanie Taylor and Carlos Oriel Wynter Melo Conclusion: Forging Afro-Panamanian identity?.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 161-170) and index.