A look back at 1930s Limón and the real legacy of Afro-Caribbean immigrants

Repeating Islands

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 11.39.07 PMThis article by Natasha Gordon-Chipembere appeared in The Tico Times.

On two separate occasions over the last year, I have been asked for information about what life may have been like in Puerto Limón during the 1930s and 1940s. Those asking me were exhausted by the stereotypical notions of Limón being about “Cocorí and rice and beans. Though there is research on Marcus Garvey, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the Northern Railway and the United Fruit Company’s role in the banana industry, very little information has been preserved (or documented – beyond the work of don Quince Duncan) to highlight some of the individuals who forged lives in this region at the turn of the 20th century.

My personal interest is in slavery in Costa Rica, and it is always fascinating to be in conversations with Ticos who readily add the English-speaking Caribbean people who immigrated to…

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