Organized by entrepreneurs and activists, tourist tours show how the black presence was erased or minimized in several historical places in São Paulo. The scripts include places of resistance, sale, torture or executions of enslaved people, indicated with discreet signs or not even that.
Curated by the Guia Negro afrotourism platform, the state took a walk through the center of the capital on the 15th, following the black dots on the map. The meeting is at Praça da Liberdade. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the place was Largo da Forca, where blacks and indigenous people were punished. This is signposted with a 35-centimeter-diameter sign on the side exit of the subway.
The landmark mentions the executions, including that of Francisco José das Chagas, Chaguinhas, a black corporal convicted of leading a mutiny for lack of pay. After the rope snapped twice, people started shouting “Freedom”.
Down Rua dos Estudantes, is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Aflitos. She is what is left of the place that received indigents and sentenced to be hanged, most of them enslaved fugitives between 1775 and 1858. It is there that Chaguinhas is buried, who became a popular saint and still attracts visitors.
Another tour in the city is the “Volta Negra”, by the Cartografia Negra collective. The start of the nine-point walk is Largo da Memória, in Anhangabaú. There, at the Obelisk of Piques, there were fairs and auctions to sell people enslaved until the end of the 19th century. There is an identification plate, which does not mention the auction. Another point is Largo da Misericórdia. Built by the black architect and engineer Joaquim Pinto de Oliveira, Tebas, in 1792, the square was a place where black men and women gathered to talk and organize ways to resist slavery.
MINORITY. The statues receive special attention in the scripts. According to the survey “Black presence in public spaces in São Paulo”, by Instituto Pólis, the city has 367. Of these, only 6 are black figures, less than 3% of the total.
The statue of Zumbi dos Palmares is 1.67 m (2.2 m, considering the raised fist). It shares the space with the bandstand at Praça Antonio Prado and is next to the tables at the Salve Jorge bar and restaurant. The statue of Borba Gato, in Santo Amaro, is 10 meters (13 m with the pedestal).
In other cases, the statues are controversial, such as a “black mother” from Largo do Paiçandu, a reference to wet nurses. It is the only statue of a black woman in São Paulo. “This representation reinforces the idea of subordination of black women”, explains cultural producer and tour guide Heitor Salatiel, from Guia Negro. For researchers, the underrepresentation of blacks and indigenous peoples is evidence of structural racism.
The information is from the newspaper The State of São Paulo.
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