This book asks what people of color thought about both the racial inequalities and the discourses of racial harmony so central to Brazilian public life in the twentieth century. It does so by considering the words and actions of black intellectuals—a group of men and a few women of some education and public standing, who proudly claimed their African racial or cultural heritage and who aspired to represent other Brazilians of color in national discussions about race and national identity since the early 1900s. It traces the emergence of their writings and organizations in the rich political and cultural life that evolved, with local variations, among people of color in the cities of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador da Bahia. In recovering their work, the book that follows provides an intellectual and cultural history of the idea of racial harmony in twentieth-century Brazil, told through the life stories and the ideological and political struggles of a small but influential group of black men and women.
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