ARTICLE Issue 004
Slave Labor and Public Memory of Slavery in Brazil and the United States By Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo
Ana Lucia Araujo, Ph.D., is professor in the Department of History
Ana Lucia Araujo, Ph.D.
In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Department of History, the department is hosting a 100th Anniversary Commemorative Lecture Series titled, "Memory and Heritage of Slavery."
In the first of three lectures, Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo, professor, Department of History, recently presented a lecture titled, "Invisible Sites of Slave Labor and Public Memory of Slavery in Brazil and the United States." Dr. Araujo describes her research below.
The processes of memorialization of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States and the abolition of slavery in Brazil were marked by the commemoration of Abraham Lincoln and the Princess Isabel. The comparison of the public memory of these two Great Emancipators reveals similar paternalistic figures.
They both embody emancipation not as a long and difficult process, but rather as a concession that has nothing to do with the struggle of those who resisted slavery, but was only possible through the generosity of a handful of white historical actors. In the United States, despite losing importance among African Americans, Lincoln is still represented as the Great Emancipator.
His crucial role in unifying the nation divided by the Civil War along with his tragic and premature death are important factors that did not allow any other alternative figure to emerge in the narrative of the abolition of slavery. In Brazil, various governments, especially during the period of the Estado Novo (1937-1945) and the military dictatorship (1964-1985), were instrumental in memorializing Princess Isabel, who for several decades remained the face of the abolition of slavery in Brazil.