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Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923$
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Frederick Douglass Opie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033716

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033716.001.0001

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Historical Context

Historical Context

Race and Labor in Guatemala

(p.8) 1 Historical Context
Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923

Frederick Douglass Opie

University Press of Florida

This chapter highlights the long history of the African presence in Guatemala and provides a context for understanding relations between black migrant laborers and Guatemalan nationals on the Caribbean coast. It begins with an overview of Spanish attitudes toward blacks and mulattoes in the colonial period, before moving on to discuss how Guatemalan politics and economic priorities in the national period created a need for foreign involvement in railroad development, as well as foreign laborers to build the railroads. Subsequent sections of the chapter discuss how black laborers from Jamaica and the United States were recruited, as well as the tradition of labor radicalism that some Southern black workers brought to Guatemala with them.

Keywords:   black migrant laborers, African laborers, mulattoes, railroad development, labor radicalism, Guatemalan politics

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