Black movement

What we call the black movement is, in fact, a set of social movements that fight against racism and for social equality and rights between blacks and whites , especially in the western world, marked by the enslavement of African peoples.

Since the 19th century, several movements have emerged in defense of equal civil rights, against slavery and against racism. The majority of these movements concentrated on American countries and South Africa , because of the slavery (in the Americas) and English imperialism and apartheid (in South Africa). In the 20th century, movements branched out, developing agendas for different social struggles according to the needs of the local black population.

Read more: Ethnocentrism – a limited and prejudiced worldview

Racial equality movement

The black movement is a group of social movements that fight for racial equality and against racism.

Despite the differences inherent in the types of movement that have a racial theme in common , the denominator of all of them is the demand for racial equality between blacks and whites. Due to the enslavement and colonialism (historical movement of invasion and colonization of American, African and Asian countries by European countries), which caused the capture and commercialization of black Africans as slaves around the world, especially in the Americas, we live the consequences of an extremely unequal and cruel system with the descendants of the enslaved people.

In the 19th century, slavery was legally extinguished in the western world, despite this, its consequences for African peoples left profound marks on society and blacks continued to be treated as inferior. In the southern United States and South Africa, there was an official system of racial segregation – supported by the laws – that excluded black people from accessing the same services as the white population, in addition to establishing a system of separation that prevented blacks were integrated into the social routine like white people.

Don’t stop now … There’s more after the publicity;)

The South Africa is a country that today has significant white population due to the British colonialism and that during the years of British rule and the young republic that emerged after the end of domination, was marked by official segregation in a political system dominated by white people. For example, we can see that the first black president of the Republican period in South Africa was Nelson Mandela , elected only in 1994. Before his election, Mandela, who joined movements against racial segregation in his country, spent 27 years in prison on account of his tough militant performance.

Currently, there are different aspects of the black movement . Two broader streams are the Unified Black Movement and the Empowered Black Movement. The Unified Black Movement has its origins in the historic struggle that began in the periods of slavery and intensified in the 1960s around the world, mainly due to the inspiration of American personalities engaged in the struggle, such as Martin Luther King Junior , Malcom X, James Baldwin and Angela Davis.

Malcolm X, one of the exponents of the struggle for racial equality in the United States and worldwide.

The Empowered Black Movement , in turn, emerged in the 1960s, intensifying in the first decade of the 2000s. The context of neoliberalism and the recognition of the stark inequality between blacks and whites around the world was fundamental for strengthening this aspect of the movement.

While the unified movement intends to unify, in the struggle, all blacks and all those who join forces, the empowered movement intends to focus its action on the individual. While the first focuses on what is good about blackness and race, the second focuses on injustice and the historical suffering of the black population to demand reparation policies. Regardless of ideological differences, black movements want equality and justice .

Social movements and their achievements

Social movements in general collect historical achievements , obtained with much struggle by their protagonists. For black movements, in particular, we can list as the most symbolic and perhaps the oldest achievement of the abolition of slavery in American countries.

In England, due to its early industrialization, slavery was abolished in the early 19th century. The liberal and industrial capitalist system needed salaried labor, as there was a need for a large number of consumers, who, in order to consume, needed freedom and money . This need was imposed by high industrial production, because if there is large-scale production, consumption and large-scale selling are necessary.

In the Americas , however, the situation was different. The southern states of the United States, Central America and South America are countries of late industrialization and summarily agrarian economy. Unlike liberal and industrial capitalism, the agrarian economy supported slavery as a model of labor .

It was in this context of the nineteenth century that the abolitionist movements , composed of free black intellectuals who had the opportunity to study, in addition to white supporters of the abolitionist cause, intensified. The abolition of late slavery in Brazil was an immense achievement for black movements .

Rosa Parks, the woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man.

In the 1950s, in the United States , a legal system of social apartheid that segregated blacks and whites still persisted . Blacks could not attend the same schools as whites, public toilets were separated, and bus seats too. It was in this context that important personalities of the black movement emerged there, such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Malcom X. Luther King and Rosa Parks were adepts of peaceful resistance and civil disobedience as fighting tactics. Malcom X was a supporter of the more radical offensive struggle .

Rosa Parks, in 1955, refused to give way to a white man on the collective bus. Luther King organized protests in which blacks entered establishments that did not serve black people and refused to leave them. Malcom X was the son of a black rights activist in Nebraska, and his father was murdered. Later, Malcolm converted to Islam and founded the Organization for African American Unity (OUAA).

What the three black personalities in the United States had in common was resistance to racial segregation in an extremely racist country. Even then, an entity that was gaining more and more strength in the United States was the Ku Klux Klan – an organization that is openly racist, anti-Semitic and extremist.

Angela Davis, philosopher, writer and activist for racial and gender equality in the United States. [1]

The struggle of these people and others who came later – such as Angela Davis and James Baldwin, a member of the Black Power movement and the Black Panthers (radical revolutionary group, with Marxist inspirations and guerrilla tactics) – brought about the end of the regime of racial segregation .

Also read: How was the life of ex-slaves after the Golden Law?

Fight for racial equality in Brazil

In Brazil, although there is no official system of racial segregation, racism has caused social segregation since the end of slavery. Here, the struggle of the black movement was inspired by personalities, such as Zumbi and Dandara dos Palmares , leaders in the largest quilombo ever recorded in our history. Black lawyer, journalist, writer and abolitionist Luís Gama was also an extremely important name .

In the 20th century, the black movement had a strong presence of people, such as: the artist, writer, politician and activist Abdias do Nascimento ; and Iyalorixá (mother of saint, leader of the Candomblé terreiro) Mãe Menininha do Gantois , who defended the cult of Candomblé and won the admiration of artists who gave more visibility to the importance of preserving religions of African origin.

Other important personalities for the struggle of the black movement are: the domestic servant and activist for the rights of the employees and the blacks Laudelina de Campos Melo ; the geographer and professor Milton Santos ; the anthropologist and Congolese professor naturalized in Brazil Kabengele Munanga ; professor José Vicente ; and, more recently, the philosopher and activist Djamila Ribeiro and the sociologist, activist and politician Marielle Franco .

Marielle was known for her work in defense of human rights, the black population and women . Since 2016, she had been denouncing the project of intervention of federal troops in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to reduce crime, which for Marielle was causing the death of young blacks in the city. In addition, the then councilwoman denounced the activities of militias in Rio de Janeiro’s communities. Marielle was murdered on March 14, 2018 , as the police investigation indicates, by a militia from Rio de Janeiro.

With so many personalities engaged in the struggle, many achievements also came. Although there is no system of segregation in our country, racism maintains social segregation in a veiled way , which results in the exclusion of the black population from access to the best jobs, in greater difficulties to study, in shorter life expectancy, etc. For this reason, the performance of movements , such as the Unified Black Movement, is important in our country.

As a result of the performance of such movements, we have, for example, Law 12,711 / 12 and Law 12,990 / 14, popularly known as Quota Laws . The first provides for the reservation of 50% of vacancies in courses at universities and federal institutes for public school students and students who declare themselves to be black, brown or indigenous. The second provides for the reservation of 20% of the vacancies offered in public tenders for black, brown and indigenous people.

Law 7.716 / 89 , popularly known as Lei Caó, was also enacted , which provides for detention of one to five years for the crime of racial discrimination. This law prohibits the refusal of access to public or private establishments, the impediment of access to public transport, the refusal to enroll in educational institutions, offenses, aggressions and unequal treatment for racial reasons; it also prohibits the making and publication of the swastika cross for the promotion of Nazism , as well as the spread of Nazi ideas .

Access also: The representation of black people in Brazilian literature

Black Consciousness

Zumbi dos Palmares, one of the greatest symbols of black resistance in Brazil. [two]

Another great achievement for the black movement in Brazil was the establishment of November 20 as the National Day of Black Awareness . The date was chosen because it was the date of the murder of Zumbi dos Palmares, leader of the largest quilombo in Brazilian history, Quilombo dos Palmares. The date was established so that there is discussion and social awareness, about the condition of black people in our country, about racism, and so that the struggle of the black people and the terrible years of slavery are not erased from our history.

The date was established for the first time, in 1978, by the Unified Black Movement, being officially recognized by Law 10.639 / 03 . On that day, NGOs, organized sectors of society, unions, entities linked to the black movement, educational institutions and part of the media promote debates, seminars and programs with a racial theme in our country.

See also: Black Literature – the voices of black Brazilian writers

How did the Unified Black Movement (MNU) come about?

On June 18, 1978, the marketer Robson Silveira da Luz was accused of stealing fruit at the fair where he worked. The 27-year-old black man was taken to the 44th Guaianazes Police Station, in the East Zone of São Paulo. There the boy was tortured and killed . On July 7, 1978, an act against Robson’s death brought two thousand people together on the steps of the Municipal Theater of São Paulo. That was the MNU’s birth moment.

From the act, several representatives of movements that fought for racial equality came together to become a single entity , stronger and more cohesive. As achievements of the MNU, in addition to the proclamation of November 20 as the National Black Awareness Day, there is a prohibition of racial discrimination in the Federal Constitution of 1988 and the creation of the Law of Chao, 1989, which typifies the crime of racism in the code penal.


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