Abolition

Autor: Editora: Segmento: Número de páginas: 144 Sobre a editora: Contato: ISBN: 9788539300716

Emília Viotti da Costa is a mandatory reference when about Brazilian History. His studies revolutionized the understanding of slavery and the struggle of blacks in Brazil, focusing on the social sectors that traditionally stood at the margins of Social History. This is clear in Abolition, where she recounts the abolitionist process that freed the whites from the burden of slavery (Brazil was the last Western country to do so) and abandoned the blacks to their own fate.

In this book, that has been recently published by Editora Unesp, with the addition of an unpublished chapter, Emília Viotti points out the need to understand the legacy left by slavery, since “three hundred years of oppression are not eliminated with the signature of a document”. Thus, if the story to be told is that of the emancipation of the Brazilian people, Abolition should be understood only as the first step. An achievement, of limited effect, which is here narrated from a series of questions. “Why was it repudiated in 1888 after centuries of being accepted without objection? Why so much urgency in the project? How to explain that most of the parliamentarians, many of whom had been elected with the support of slave masters, approved the law without further debate? Why did the slave masters not try to prevent, with weapons in hand, the attack on their property that the Constitution itself guaranteed? What role did blacks and slaves play in this process? Why did Abolition take so long to be decreed in Brazil? “

These questions guide the narrative where the story of Abolition is told. They still have repercussions today when “will, ignorance, violence and misery, prejudices that slave society created still weigh on us”. The author argues that “if it is fair to celebrate the Thirteen of May, it is necessary, however, that the celebration does not blind us to the point of transforming the freedom it symbolizes into a myth in the service of oppression and exploitation of labor”.