Slavery, Abolition, and Quilombos
While race was not used as an organizing tool in the Northeast, it was also not entirely absent. The Ligas drew transnational connections between the Northeast and the US Civil Rights movement and African independence movements, positioning the white ruling majority or European colonists as the enemy of the people. Slavery was a common metaphor used to debate the possibilities of Brazil forming a coalition with the Soviet Union or the United States. The historical legacy of slavery in Northeastern Brazil also factored into debates over competing projects for development in the Northeast. Filmmakers focused on rural afro-descendent populations and stories of quilombos (maroon societies), using realism to portray the Nordestino as African, savage, impoverished and determined to survive. These racialized narratives shaped the cultural and political struggles for change in the Northeast while also redefining what it meant to be Nordestino and a part of the Third World.
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