PAN CARIBBEAN SANKOFA
Pan Caribbean Sankofa, a division of CGM Cemetery Preservation Foundation is an outreach, research, education, and advisory group to organizations and individuals interested in the history, culture, and diaspora of Caribbean people and their descendants in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States - focusing on Panama, the Panama Canal, and Panama Railroad from the 1800s to the present.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
To ensure that all voices and community histories are represented, Pan Caribbean Sankofa and the University of Florida (UF) have partnered on a project to record and
preserve oral histories narrated specifically by people of West Indian descent. Members of Pan Caribbean Sankofa will conduct the interviews, and UF will preserve and provide
access to them. The Panama Canal Museum Collection (PCMC) at UF George A. Smathers Libraries is
a leading research collection for the study of the American era of the Panama Canal (1904-1999).
Historically, the West Indian voice has not been heard, and it is largely underrepresented in many research collections related to the Panama Canal. Recorded story represents
the collaborative relationship between the past and our shared desire to document and preserve the powerful legacy of the West Indian community. The stories of the individuals who lived and worked there are essential pieces of the historical puzzle – without these stories, valuable insight into the past and many cultural memories will be lost.
WHY PROVIDE AN ORAL HISTORY?
By recording an oral history, you are helping to enrich our understanding of life surrounding the Canal; you are expanding someone else’s understanding of their own identity, history, and connection to their community; and you are making sure that all experiences and viewpoints
are represented in the documented history. Our goal is to capture the broadest possible range of individual and collective experiences –
everyone’s narrative is irreplaceable and important. We invite you to create knowledge and to raise awareness. This is your opportunity to tell your own story in your own words.
HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE TO THE COLLECTION?
1. Provide an interview!
2. Recommend others to be interviewed.
3. Donate funds to support the project (e.g., to help pay for travel and other expenses needed to conduct interviews).
4. Consider donating photos, diaries, letters, postcards, home movies, scrapbooks, and other objects along with your interview. We collect a wide variety of materials relating to the history of the Panama Canal in order to
make them available for research and
education. If you want to keep your original items, we do accept digital scans.
HOW CAN I RECORD MY HISTORY?
1. You can fill out one of our personal narrative forms online.
a. Simple Form: (LINK)
b. Guided Questions: (LINK)
2. You can type or handwrite your personal narrative and mail it to us.
b. MAILING ADDRESS
3. Contact us to schedule an interview at