Westerman, George W.

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Journalist, sociologist, and diplomat, George Washington Westerman was a Panamanian of West Indian origin and has been identified with almost every major social, cultural, civic and labor struggle, particularly those affecting people of West Indian descent on the Isthmus, from the 1940's until the late 1970's. Westerman served as a bridge between Panamanian West Indians, the American managers of the Canal Zone, and the Panamanians. He waged a relentless battle against social inequities and discriminatory racial practices in all fields.

Westerman's primary profession was journalism. He wrote a column, "The Passing Review" and articles for the English language weekly "The Panama Tribune," catering to the West Indian community from 1935 until the paper's folding in 1973. He also authored numerous pamphlets about U.S.-Panama relations, West Indian laborers on the Canal Zone, education and West Indian contributions to the history of Panama, among other topics. Westerman became involved in many areas which would serve to advance West Indian Panamanians, particularly in the fields of education, labor, politics and housing. From 1949 until 1956 he directed Westerman Concerts, an organization which showcased African-American performers in Panama.

Westerman actively became involved in politics in the 1940's, and in the mid-1950s he organized the West Indian community to participate in the 1956 presidential election in order to support the candidacy of his friend, Ernesto de la Guardia. He was subsequently appointed delegate with the rank of ambassador to the General Assembly of the United Nations where he served from 1956-1960. In that position he advocated for the independence of African non-self-governing territories and Caribbean colonies. He also used his political contacts and role in the community to influence the 1955 Panama Canal treaty negotiations between the United States and Panama with respect to the discrepancies in wages and retirement plans between Panamian and U.S. employees.

From the description of George W. Westerman papers, 1886-1988 (bulk 1934-1985). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 84682308

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Westerman, George W. George W. Westerman papers, 1886-1988 (bulk 1934-1985). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Westerman, George W. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1963-1965. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Beecher, Robert Houston, 1914-1987. Robert H. Beecher papers, 1941-1987. New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993. person
associatedWith Barrow, Errol Walton, 1920-1987. person
associatedWith Beecher, Robert Houston, 1914-1987. person
associatedWith Canal Zone. corporateBody
associatedWith Chiari, Roberto F., 1905-1981. person
associatedWith Dedicators, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Guardia, Ernesto de la, b. 1885. person
associatedWith Inter-American Press Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Isthmian Negro Youth Congress. corporateBody
associatedWith National Civil League (Panama) corporateBody
associatedWith National Patriotic Coalition Party (Panama) corporateBody
associatedWith Organization of American States. corporateBody
associatedWith Panama American (Panama) corporateBody
associatedWith Panama Canal (Panama) corporateBody
associatedWith Panama Canal Treaties (1977) corporateBody
associatedWith Panama Railroad Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Powell, Adam Clayton, 1908-1972. person
associatedWith Remón, José A. person
associatedWith Renovador Party (Panama) corporateBody
associatedWith Schuyler, Philippa, 1932- person
associatedWith Sullivan, Leonor K. person
associatedWith Tubman, William V. S., 1895-1971. person
associatedWith United Nations. corporateBody
associatedWith United Nations Publications. corporateBody
associatedWith Warfield, William. person
associatedWith Westerman Concerts (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Young, Sidney Adolphus. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Panama--Canal Zone
United States
Discrimination in education
Education, Higher
Fraternal organizations
Housing development
Labor unions
Newspaper editors
Political parties
Prefabricated houses
Racial discrimination
Racism in education
Tennis players
West Indians
West Indians
World War, 1939-1945
African American entertainers
African American musicians
African American singers
Community organization


Active 1886

Active 1988


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