The Abolition
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More About This Title The Abolition


Emília Viotti da Costa is a mandatory reference when it comes to Brazilian History. Her studies revolutionized the understanding of slavery and the struggle of the black people in Brazil, focusing on social sectors that traditionally stood at the margins of Social History. This is clear in 'The Abolition', where she recounts the abolitionist process that freed the white people from the burden of slavery (Brazil was the last Western country to do it) and abandoned black people to their own fate.

In this book Emília Viotti calls attention to the need to understand the legacy left behind by slavery, since “three hundred years of oppression cannot be eliminated with a signature on a document”. Thus, if the story to be told is the emancipation of the Brazilian people, Abolition should be understood as only the first step. It’s an achievement of limited effect, which is here narrated from a series of questions. “Why was it repudiated in 1888 after centuries of being accepted without objection? Why so much urgency in the project? How to explain most of the parliamentarians, many of which had been elected with the support of slave masters, approved the law without further debate? Why didn’t the slave masters try to prevent, with weapons in hand, the attack on their property guaranteed by the Constitution? What role did the black people and the slaves play in this process? ”