Salvador da Bahia and São Paulo, 1930–1945
This chapter examines the whitening ideologies that valued European immigrants above black workers, which had turned the word nacional into a derisive euphemism for pretos and pardos. To be a “national” in the Republic, as writers in Sao Paulo's black press ruefully pointed out time and again, was essentially to be a second-class citizen, or in their terms, a foreigner in one's own land. This situation changed dramatically after November 1930, when a bloodless coup by Getulio Vargas put an end to the Republic and inaugurated a fifteen-year nationalist regime. Like other nationalist leaders taking power across Latin America in this period, Vargas vowed to do away with the political and economic structures and sharp social divisions of an earlier oligarchic regime. In Brazil, this meant that the nation would no longer be run by alternating groups of landholders from the agricultural powerhouses of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.
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