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Brandeis University

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice


The history of race in Brazil is a long and complicated one which has resulted in a contemporary racial climate fraught with hidden racism and the systematic oppression of the entire black population. Because of this complex history, black movements in Brazil have struggled to gain political power and unified support from the black population. Today, the black movement is made up of many independent organizations, working in their own way to fight racism and inequality within Brazil. This research project looks at the work of one such organization of the Brazilian black movement, the Centro de Cultura Negra in São Luis, Maranhão. I focus on the work of this organization in relation to young people, both in São Luis and in quilombo communities in Maranhão, and look to understand how CCN organizes and educates this new generation of the black movement. The introductory chapter briefly introduces the topic and I then move to explain my motivations for research and the importance of this research. Next I outline the location of my research, including a breakdown of the organizational structure of CCN, and move from this to a background history of racism and the black movement in Brazil. Following this background, I address the current issues of educational inequality in Brazil, how this affects the black population in particular, and the work that CCN does to combat this inequality. I then comment some on the lack of cultural valorization and racial identification within the Brazilian black community and how CCN works to inspire these values within young people. Finally, I outline some the personal and political dreams of the students of CCN and conclude that the real work of CCN is in giving these young people the confidence and self-esteem that allows them to dream, and that will allow them in the future to be a vital part of the black movement in Brazil.


Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity


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