Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Slave Life in Rio

Slave Auction, Rio de Janeiro, 1859-1861

Standing on a chair, the auctioneer dominates the scene while an enslaved woman with a child clinging to her arm is examined by a prospective buyer. Other Afro-Brazilians (slaves?) are also shown; various material goods, including household furniture and musical instruments, are apparently being sold at the same auction (see also Biard05). Biard, a French painter, lived in Brazil for two years, 1859-1861. His published account contains a number of images of slave life...

Returning from a Slave Sale, Rio de Janeiro, 1859-1861

The slave owner, leading his horse while smoking a cigar and carrying an umbrella, heads a group of four adults and one child. One of the men carries household goods, including a clock and a musical instrument while the two women, one holding onto a child, are behind; bringing up the rear is an enslaved (?) man who appears to be guarding the newly-bought slaves. The material goods shown suggest that the auction was not only for the purchase of slaves but household items as well (see also Biard04). Biard, a French painter, lived in Brazil for two years, 1859-1861.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this. I think you are such a remarkable voice among the sea of US-based cultural/intellectuals of color on the blogosphere.

    Slavery across the Americas was brutal all across the board and its racist, toxic legacies live on to this day, notwithstanding gradations and distinctive features. Brazil is NOT a racial paradise today and I am so, so tired of historians of color in the US who take on apologetic stances vis a vis Latin American discourses and racialized/racist societies -all to simply rank the US as the "worst." Believe me, as I grew up in Latin American, that the US is in some ways in a much, much, much better place. And the election of BO as president also sends a signal to Latin American societies about how unacceptable and retrograde their own attitudes/ disenfranchisement of black and indigenous populations are. SD



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