thumbnail of Latin American perspectives; Slavery in Brazil
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Latin American perspectives a program of comment and analysis about current Latin American problems and their historical setting. The commentator for these programs is Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Here now is Dr. Gardner. Long ago we fought a civil war and thereby established for all time the fact that a national bloodbath is a stupid way to end slavery. Brazil also be set by slavery and attendant problems. Look to our experience of the 1860s and formulated and carried into effect in the 1870s and 80s another a peaceful way of terminating slavery. Brazil looked to us and learned perhaps in the reciprocating action that is life in the Western Hemisphere today. It is time for us to look at a Brazilian experience. Possibly we can learn something that can reduce or eliminate the prospect
of another bloodbath in the United States. I referred to the fact that Brazil has found easier ways of establishing harmonious relations between races than we have. And as we have a second go at this matter of meaning fully and honorably relating the American Negro to life in the United States it behooves us to be aware of the second offering of a major work on race relations in Brazil in 1900 to the United States and Brazil. We're partners in the fight against such dictators as Hitler and Mussolini than for the Western world generally. A great drive was underway in behalf of democracy and social justice. Then it was in 1942 that Donald Pearson's volume negroes in Brazil A Study of Race Relations at the baie
appeared. Now a quarter century later with Negroes in the United States increasingly inclined to fight for their rights against a white dictatorship a new addition of Pearson's negroes in Brazil has been published by Southern Illinois University Press. Slavery not only came earlier and stayed later in Brazil than it did in the United States it was proportionately in terms of population ratios and economic productivity much more significant there than here. The role of the African and Brazilian life early and late is better appreciated if several fundamental facts are borne in mind. But one thing Brazilian Indians like those in Eastern Anglo America were few in number and so primitive
culturally that no easy integration of them with incoming Europeans was possible. I had the fact that Brazil in a tropical setting presented climatic conditions uncongenial to people from temperate Europe and a basic reason a rose for the importation of labor. Couple these facts with prior Portuguese acquaintance with Africans for a half century before Columbus's discovery of America and the geographical near-miss of Africa to Brazil and the currents that facilitate sailing from the one to the other. And you have an abundance of reasons for the early persistent and basic dependence the Portuguese in Brazil placed upon imported Africans in early colonial years. The primary attention focused upon Brazil concerned that northeastern bulge which is ever so close to Africa. They're the first capital
by EON was a stablished and behind and around the town a province of the same name dedicated major attention to producing sugar in its nature as port as capital as economic and political center for plantation agriculture dependent upon black slave labor. Brazil was a Charleston South Carolina except that everything was even more sharply accentuated south of the equator. When Pearson went to Baie on that city's population approximated one third of a million a figure that has doubled in the intervening years. But then as now by E.O. was hub for a state larger than Texas obviously Pearson attempting a case study of race contact in Brazil could not use the entire country as
his laboratory in choosing but he admitted he went to one of the core areas one which would feature every aspect of the phenomena he wanted to analyze. For twenty two months he lived in and studied by Ian life. Incidentally he later lingered on in Brazil for almost two decades helping to train research personnel in a school concerned with social sciences. The past 25 years and the appearance of considerable related literature from many different pens have tended to support overwhelmingly the observations and conclusions entertained in the 1040s 1 chapter entitled race mixture and the crumbling of the color line treats the problem of miseducation the intermixture of races was
hastened in Brazil by virtue of the fact that during the first century of colonial rule a few European women migrated to Brazil. The relationship between black and white was so recognised so dignified that unity resulted rather than the chasm that accompanied the unrecognized and undignified miseducation that produced an equivalently mulatto class in this country. Close observation suggests that marriages in present day Brazil across race lines more often than class lines. That is that marriages between individuals from different occupational and income levels within each racial group are less frequent than marriages between members of the different racial groups in the same class. A common
expression heard in connection with this matter of intermarriage in bi EAA is this a rich Negro is a white man and a poor white man is a negro. This indication that education income social position and related indicators not race are determining factors in harmonizing Brazilian race relations suggests this truth. The mobility of Brazilian population all of it not simply the white sector has facilitated climbing. We of course pat ourselves on the back and consider the United States the land of opportunity but we generally fail to append the qualifying truth for whites. Brazil lacking any such restriction based on color has fostered a more broadly based and genuinely democratic social outlook. No one can convincingly
insist that the Roman Catholic Church on the total world front has significantly erased race consciousness. But Pearson holds that such is true within Brazil he writes. The fact is that Catholic ideas and practice permeating as they do very largely the whole moral order at baie tend to implement and to support the Brazilian racial policy for the Catholic Church by emphasizing ritual Center's attention out side the individual upon common objects. While the Protestant church is by emphasizing belief center attention upon the individual thus tending to increase self-consciousness and consequently awareness of difference. When Pearson undertook his research he hoped and he still does today. But his Brazilian adventure might spark the labor of other
researchers. In as much as Protestantism has experienced widening acceptance in certain sections of Brazil it is time for someone to test his conclusions by asking the question. Has expanding Protestantism in Brazil been synonymous with widening gulf between racial elements. Indeed the same issue transferred to the United States might profitably be explored by asking such questions as these are Catholic Detroiters less prejudiced against Negroes than Protestant Detroiters. And then the related question is there a significant new growing movement into or out of any particular religious groups in the United States because of obvious differences in the area of prejudice and discrimination. The answers to such questions might be surprising and instructive. And two they may prove sufficiently unlike the Brazilian
situation as to suggest that fundamental factors there and here are so different that similar end products cannot be expected. At a moment in our own history when more and more people sympathize with the American Negroes quest for knowledge of his cultural heritage it is very informative to read Pearson's chapter entitled The Africans. One of the most attractive characteristics of Pearson work is its combination of the specific and the general. There is a warm human quality about the microscopically detailed glimpses of people that work and play and then follows his challenging hypotheses worthy of consideration. For more of Brazil than by EON for more of the world than the United States person by way of summary offers 25 hypotheses derived from his research.
Even as I insist that we can learn much suggesting some similarity of solution to problems of race relations. Let me cite several of the hypotheses to indicate the range of difference in the Brazilian and American past. Their abolition sentiment and agitation was not limited to any one section of the country. There the White has not felt but the black or the mixed blood offered any serious threat to his own status. There the negro does not appear to be developing into a self-conscious racial minority. There are no deliberate segregation accounts for the location of Negro housing. There one drop of African blood does not as here class a mixed blood as a Negro. There is a prejudice that exists
is a class rather than race prejudice. Despite the obvious differences however the fundamental ingredients in U.S. and Brazilian race relations the existence and intermingling of whites and blacks are the same. Quite possibly our chance of solving our dilemma instead of being dissolved by it stems from a willingness to get the fundamentals for a better understanding of fundamentals in Brazil. I recommend Southern Illinois University press's new edition of Pearson's Negros in Brazil. This was Latin American perspectives with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Join us for our next program when Dr. Gardner will examine another aspect of life in Latin America Latin American perspectives is produced and recorded by station WFIU FM at Southern Illinois University and is distributed by the national educational
radio network.
Latin American perspectives
Slavery in Brazil
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-cv4bsz9t).
Episode Description
This program focuses on the history of slavery in Brazil, as well as provides a look at the black population in Brazil.
Series Description
A series of comment and analysis about current affairs in Latin American countries.
Global Affairs
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Gardiner, C. Harvey (Clinton Harvey)
Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-3-20 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:39
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Latin American perspectives; Slavery in Brazil,” 1968-03-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2023,
MLA: “Latin American perspectives; Slavery in Brazil.” 1968-03-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2023. <>.
APA: Latin American perspectives; Slavery in Brazil. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from