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Hard Tack and Salt Meat

Hard Tack and Salt Meat

 Railroad construction Crew on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala 1890s . Courtesy of La Hemeroteca Nacional de Guatemala,

 Railroad construction Crew on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala 1890s . Courtesy of La Hemeroteca Nacional de Guatemala,

Here is an interesting history description of the experience of  U. S. immigrant workers that contrast with the current views on undocumented immigrant workers in the United States. In 1897 . William B. Lyons and J. C. Watts, two white Cincinnati boys, met on the streets of New Orleans. Unable to find work in the United States they migrated to Central America in search of  jobs. They said in a letter published in their hometown of Ohio that “the food and accommodation on the steamer Breakwater and the treatment we received were something outrageous." Passengers on deck received "a small pan full of stew, some salt meat that nobody could eat, some rice, and sometimes once a day, a cup of coffee.” The two go on to describe the food and conditions on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala where they found jobs as railroad workers. Company officials and the local police/soldiers treated them  like slaves and fed them rations of salt pork and hard tack.  In short, during periods of severe depression, North Americans have migrated to source of jobs and tasted the immigrant experience. 

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Fred Opie Show Podcast

Black Migration to Panama and Guatemala

Fred Opie's New Book! Southern Food and Civil Rights: Feeding the Revolution

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A Call for Culinary Literacy

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