Note from BW of Brazil: Afro-Brazilian historians and activists have been saying this for a long time: black Brazilians are mostly non-existent in Brazilian history textbooks. Beyond representation as slaves, or maybe a few mentions about the Palmares quilombo, it’s as if the descendants 4 million Africans brought to Brazil starting in the 16th century have no importance to the story of Latin America’s largest, most populous country. Similar to yesterday’s piece on the black role in the eventual abolition of slavery, today’s piece also seeks to redeem the historical importance of this parcel of the population.
It is for this very reason that why the works of Afro-Brazilian scholars and intellectuals must be offered as part of the curriculums of Brazilian schools and universities. Books such as Enciclopédia Brasileira da Diáspora Africana (Brazilian Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora) by Nei Lopes, Uma História do negro no Brasil (A History of the Black in Brazil), by Wlamyra R. de Albuquerque and Walter Fraga Filho and Brasil: Raízes Do Protesto Negro (Brazil: Roots of Black Protest)by Clovis Moura would not only address the issue, provide a more balanced view of Afro-Brazilians and also fulfill the objective of Law 10.639, which makes the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History mandatory in Brazilian schools. Let the revisionism of history proceed…
After 170 years, the black role in the Farroupilha Revolution is still minimized, says doctor in history
A Ph.D in history, Fernanda Oliveira observes that blacks became soldiers in the revolution not only due to necessity but because of their abilities.
The participation of the blacks in the Farroupilha Revolution (1835-1845) (see note one) is still a subject little talked about in the history books, but returns to the foreground this Wednesday (20), when the revolt in Rio Grande do Sul will be celebrated.
According to the doctor in history, Fernanda Oliveira, blacks became soldiers in the revolution not only out of necessity, but due to their abilities. Their role would be greater than “constituting the backbone of rebel forces,” as a book aimed at high school students cites.
“It was necessary to replace the forces because desertion was very common, so it was necessary to have people. But more than that, the enslaved people who composed the bodies of black spearmen were highly specialized, and this was important in this new research, showing that besides participating in these ways, they were necessary for the Farroupilha Army. “
For the doctor, the way the blacks are portrayed in the books, in a practically invisible way, ends up interfering in the memória coletiva gaúcha (collective memory of Rio Grande do Sul natives).
“As we have this written of history, this will reverberate in the possibility of rethinking, both in the collective memory of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where the black population is, is part of this gaúcha memory, on the other hand, the construction of a gaúcha identity, also contemplates the Afro-gaúchos,” she says.
“Many blacks in Rio Grande do Sul claim this gaúcha identity, and this is not a new thing.”
This week, an event in Porto Alegre discussed the Massacre de Porongos (Porongos Massacre) in 1843, which occurred in the midst of the Farroupilha Revolution. In the battle, several unarmed blacks were killed by Imperial troops. The event, which was renamed Enegrecendo Setembro (blackening September), takes place until the end of the month at the Federal Institute of Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS).
Those who participated in the event left the location with a new vision of the revolution. “It’s always the same story, the great heroes, a revolt that was of the elite gaúcha (elites of Rio Grande do Sul), which ended up happening as a revolt of the people of Rio Grande do Sul. And it was not, the people were in tow, “observes geography teacher Aline Hendz.
Music teacher Dana Farias relates shame in the way blacks are portrayed in history.
“We get a little embarrassed when we’re in a classroom, in which black people are always referred to as playing that little role in history, always enslaved, never the hero, never the person who made a difference.”
“They avoid exposing our participation or saying that we may have done something that has contributed to a huge change,” notes environmental management student Mateus Madril Benites.
- The Farroupilha Revolution was a Republican uprising that began in southern Brazil, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in 1835, when the state fought for independence from the rest of the nation. The rebels, led by generals Bento Gonçalves da Silva and Antônio de Sousa Neto with the support of the Italian fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi, surrendered to imperial forces in 1845 and Rio Grande do Sul remained part of Brazil. It is considered the longest and second bloodiest of the failed wars of secession in the Brazilian Empire, after the Cabanagem Revolt. The uprising is believed to have begun due to the difference between the economy of Rio Grande do Sul and the rest of the country. Unlike the other states, the state economy focused in the internal market rather than exporting commodities. The state’s main product, charque (dried and salted beef), suffered badly from competition from charque imported from Uruguay and Argentina, which had free access to Brazilian markets while the gauchos (as residents of Rio Grande do Sul are called) were charged high taxes inside Brazil.