Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Social debts with black communities

The State of Rio Grande do Norte is not amongst the Brazilian States with big presence of black culture. The black slaves were brought to Brazil mostly to work on the sugar canes farms and in the gold mines; Rio Grande do Norte was only partially taken by the sugar cane, and has no traces of gold (see History of Rio Grande do Norte).

However, a few black communities were formed in the States. Mostly, these communities were formed by slaves who escaped from farms, and created clandestine clusters called Quilombos; the Quilombo dos Palmares, in the State of Alagoas, was the biggest and most famous. Smaller quilombos were called quilombolas, and some of these still remain until today. Thanks to the isolation, the quilombolas preserved the culture of the ancient blacks, but their members didn't benefit of social progress.

The quilombolas in Rio Grande do Norte are now being officially recognized.
The Fundação Cultural Palmares, body of the Ministry of Culture, recognized the community Negros do Riacho (Blacks of the Creek), in the municipality of Currais Novos, as descendants of the quilombolas; as such, the community will be legally entitled to a number of social benefits, like: regularization of their land (this is a serious problem; in the South of the State, near Pipa, a quilombola community was destroyed by judicial order, because a Judge considered that living in the place for hundreds of years didn't give the community any rights; read more here), building of brick houses, construction of schools.

According to official studies, there are 72 quilombolas in the State of Rio Grande do Norte; only 33 of them requested to be officially recognized, and 5 of them were already recognized.

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