Irreconcilable Differences? A Reckoning with Confederado History in Brazil
Keywords:Brazil, Confederados, Santarém, Heritage
Confederados are descendants of U.S. southerners who emigrated to southern Brazil and the Amazon region after the Civil War, where slavery was still legal. The Brazilian government covered their transportation costs and provided subsides and land grants in exchange for developing “empty” land. Much of the material written about Confederados is by descendants where discussions of slavery, slave ownership (prior to emigration or in Brazil), or the “draw” to Brazil receives little or no mention. This article threads the troubled history of Confederados in Santarém, Pará, to a global context demanding a reckoning with systemic and institutionalized racism and police violence through protests, petitions, and demands of removal of symbols of slavery, racism, and oppression and of reparations. I examine the debates and tensions concerning collective and public memory about slavery, settler colonialism and the display of the Confederate flag.