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Donald Brathwaite was born in Panama. He does not know where his parents came from, but does know that his father came to Panama of his own volition and was a tailor. His mother was his father’s second wife. Donald grew up in Colón and went to the music conservatory for two years after he finished secondary school. He is very immersed in the musical culture of the Canal Zone and has sung in many groups and choruses. Though he never sang professionally, he did spend two years working as a singer in California. Donald calls himself a professional educator. As such, he is proud to be black and identifies with African culture. Donald is married, but has no children.
Gloria Brathwaite was born in 1941 in Panama to parents who were born in Panama as well. Her father was of Jamaican descent. Gloria is very proud of her African heritage and insists on referring to Africa as her homeland. She calls the West Indies nothing more than a stop along the way. Gloria is very adamant about her views on race and insists that as a race, Africans should be proud and not indulge in a mentality of disgrace. She also insists on the importance of superior education as a way to counteract racism. Gloria pursued her own studies through the second year of professional school, where she studied to be a nurse. Gloria is married, but has no children.