Remembering “The Contract”: Recollections of Bahamians

Tracey L. Thompson


Between 1943 and 1965 an estimated 30,000 Bahamian men and women migrated temporarily to the United States on short-term contracts to work in the agricultural sector. The programme, known as the British West Indies Labor Program, was created to fill labour shortages caused when Americans left the farms to work in more profitable war industries or to serve in the armed forces during World War II. In the Bahamas the programme was sometimes referred to as “The Contract” because each worker signed a contractual agreement to work in the United States. Drawing upon oral histories collected in the early 1990s, this paper uses the recollections of former Contract workers to explore the personal, economic and social ramifications of their experiences working on the Contract.


The Contract; Migration; Labor

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