Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Brazil Initiative

Amilcar Pereira - "For an Authentic Racial Democracy!": The Brazilian Black Movement's Struggles in Schools and Curricula

Thursday, October 12, 2017

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

This talk will highlight one of the most important aspects of the Brazilian black movement since the late nineteenth century: the struggle not only for access to educational institutions but also for curricula substantively inclusive of Africa and its Diaspora. In 1978, the Movimento Negro Unificado—MNU (Unified Black Movement) drafted its Carta de Princípios (Charter of Principles), which called for the reassessment of the role of blacks in Brazil’s history. Since 2001, when the adoption of quotas for Brazilians of African descent in universities became a frequent topic of the discussion in the media and within different sectors of society, debates about racial issues in Brazil have become very lively. President Lula’s signing Law 10,639 in January 2003 was a seminal event. It made the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian histories and cultures mandatory throughout the Brazilian educational system, including both public and private schools. This significant development was primarily the result of efforts of the black movement, which had exposed the existence of racial discrimination and struggled for better conditions for African descendants in Brazil during the twentieth century.

Amilcar Pereira is an Associate Professor of History of Education at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He has a PhD in History from the Federal Fluminense University (UFF) and during the academic year of 2015-16 he was a Fulbright-Capes Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) of Columbia University in New York. He has developed research on race relations in Brazil and in different national contexts, on the histories of anti-racist struggles in the African diaspora and on the teaching of black movements’ histories in Brazil and in the US. He is the author of the book O mundo negro: relações raciais e a constituição do movimento negro no Brasil (2013) and co-editor of the books Histórias do movimento negro no Brasil (with Verena Alberti, 2007), Ensino de História e Culturas Afro-Brasileiras e Indígenas (with Ana Maria Monteiro, 2013), and Educação e Diversidade em Diferentes Contextos (with Warley da Costa, 2015), among other texts.