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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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Race, Resistance, and Revolution in the Late Nineteenth Century

Race, Resistance, and Revolution in the Late Nineteenth Century

(p.28) 2 Race, Resistance, and Revolution in the Late Nineteenth Century
Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923

Frederick Douglass Opie

University Press of Florida

Turning to the subject of work conditions and labor mobilization, this chapter looks at conditions on the Caribbean coast and considers how the ethnically diverse coastal migrant workers were exploited by labor agents and their corporate employers, with the assistance of hostile local Guatemalan officials. It argues that in Guatemala, foreign workers of the 1880s and 1890s shared a common experience of abuse at the hands of employers and military authorities. It also considers some early evidence of workers' resistance to this poor treatment: in the early 1880s, workers struggled together against employers and the state for back wages during depressions and to improve their situation overall. In 1897, during a revolutionary period, workers took up arms against the Guatemalan state, displaying a cross-race solidarity that is explored further in later chapters.

Keywords:   work conditions, labor mobilization, migrant workers, labor agents

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