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Women’s History Month Through the Lens of Food, Part 4

Jamaican Immigrant Emma Williams

Jamaican Immigrant Emma Williams

While doing research for my book Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala , I came across Emma Williams' immigration document which included the photo above. She was born in Jamaica in 1907, immigrated to and settled in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala where she gave birth to a daughter in 1926 and worked as a domestic. Similar documents show that large numbers of women migrated throughout Central America in search of jobs; single women from Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Panama most of them domestics. Some started as domestic and went on to purchase land and farm as well as open boarding houses, restaurants, and cantinas. They left an indelible mark on Guatemalan culture, particularly in the Caribbean region, where English became the lingua franca, jazz and reggae became popular forms of musical expression, and jerk chicken and meat patties became part of the local cuisine. 

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Frying Fish to Raise Bail Money

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Women's History Month: The Women of Windsor, North Carolina