This is the Insurgent Radio Kiosk for Thursday, October 10th
On this day in Labor History the year was 1913.
At 2:02 in the afternoon President Woodrow Wilson at the White House touched of an explosion at the Gamboa Dike in Panama. With that touch of a button the last barrier to joining the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Panama Canal went up in smoke.
The Chicago Tribune described the scene in Panama, “Then suddenly came the muffled roar of the discharge of 1,600 pounds of dynamite, which sent a shower of water, mud, and rock high into the air, spreading out as it went upward, the whole heavily veiled in a cloud of smoke…As water began to pour through the rent made by the explosion…the crowd sent up a great cheer.” It was a momentous moment in the construction of the canal.
But that moment came at a staggering cost of workers lives. For more than twenty years the French and then the United States worked on the canal project. The US phase lasted for a decade. As many as 45,000 workers toiled on the canal during the peak years of construction.
These workers came from the United States, Europe, Asia, and Panama. West Indians formed the core of the work crews.
These workers faced stifling heat, brutal work conditions, and poor accommodations. Workers had to contend with ravaging disease, poisonous snakes and torrential rains. Workers also faced racial discrimination. West Indian workers earned half the hourly wages of US and European workers. They also lived in much more crowded barracks. Worker deaths were so frequent that “frunery trains” ran to bring the bodies away from the construction site.
It is estimated that more than 27,000 men died building the canal.
Labor History in Two Minutes is brought to you by a partnership between the Illinois Labor History Society and the Pennsylvania-based Rick Smith Show. All opinions are those of the speaker.
It’s today’s Action Calendar!
Immigration rights activist Leila Pine will speak on “Concentration Camps at the Border: Personal Stories and Resistance”, tonight, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Madison’s Central Library, 201 West Mifflin Street. A retired journalist and lawyer, Leila Pine has extensive experience working with immigrants and asylum-seekers both locally and in Tucson, Arizona. Presented by the Peregrine Forum. Phone 266-6300 for information.
Learn about low-cost home internet options this evening from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Goodman South Library, 2222 South Park Street. The free informational session will review programs and qualifications for gaining low cost access for families. The session will be offered in both English and Spanish. Phone 266-6395 for information.
Learn how to adjust your fit within your personal vehicle at a special CarFit Program for seniors on Friday, October 11th, from 9 to 11 a.m at the Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin Street. A proper fit in one’s car can increase not only driver safety, but also the safety of others. Presented through the AARP Driver Safety Program and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Phone 266-6581 today to make an appointment.
The Insurgent Radio Kiosk is a four minute pre-recorded segment featuring a commentary and a calendar of daily events. Events must be low cost or non-profit and of interest to people in and around the WORT listening area and which other media might not highlight. Please submit announcements at least ten days before the event at wortfm.org/kiosk/announcements.
The Kiosk is available online at wortfm.org/kiosk.
This has been the Insurgent Radio Kiosk heard weekdays at 5:00, 6:30 and 9:00 AM and at 2:00 PM. I’m Greg Geboski.
Submit announcements at least ten days in advance of the event at wortfm.org/kiosk/announcements.