The Burma Road Riot

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Question 1a

Write a detailed account of the Burma Road Riot in Nassau, Bahamas.

At the beginning of the Second World War the American government made arrangements to build training bases in of the Caribbean Islands. Being a part of the Caribbean, The Bahamian government and the American government scheduled to build two operational bases in New Providence, one in Satellite Field and the other in Oaks Field, they also called it the Main Field. This would then employ over two thousand men.

The news began to spread to the outer islands and many out islanders saw it as a good opportunity to be employed for big wages. During the last ten years the economy had declined due to the ending of prohibition in 1933. These Bahamians came to New Providence because they knew that the Americans would pay high wages because some worked on the American base in Exuma before. Unfortunately, the Bahamian workers were paid half the wages the Americans were paid for the same job. After failing to get the employer to remedy their unfair wage, on Sunday 31st May, 1942, the local workers gathered in front of the Pleasantville Construction company with the aim of getting their employer to improve their wages offered to the two site; the wages were lower than the employees expected, also their wages were lower than the American wages who did the same job. Bahamian wages were only four shillings for eight hours. This situation was so unfair it made the Bahamian workers frustrated and bitter against their white employers. As a result a charged working relationship between the Bahamian workers developed.

Since there was no resolution in the meeting on the following day Monday, 1st June, 1942 laborers marched to Bay Street protesting that they be paid the full amount of wages by the Pleasantville Contractors. The Bahamian protestors didn’t know that it was the “Bay Street Boys” that told the Americans to pay the Bahamian employees less that it supposed to be.

Because the...
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