Thursday, April 14, 2011




This paper is a summary and reflection on the work of Robert W.Slen and Sheila de Castro Faria, which deepened the discussion in Brazil on the establishment of the slave family during the slavery period in Brazil. Robert is professor of History at UNICAMP, andSheila is a professor of History of FFU. The foregoing summaryhas been widely discussed here at the Second Story UFF, entitled"Slave Family and Work. " In particular this was the question of culture, genetics, religious and geographical influence theformation of families of slaves in this period. The researchers whodiscussed the issue sought to bring historical evidence that emitlight in the past and show how families lived as slaves and werethe arrangement of marriages between them.


Roger Bastide was a Brazilian historians who argued that the historical view of black slaves in Brazil could hardly raise a family in the traditional models with father, mother and children by creating bonds of family. Forestan Fernandes, another supporter of this line of interpretation also believed that the slaves on his master saw the figure of the Father, therefore, was a different notion of the traditional family.

These historians have followed the current concept of its time (1950 and 1960), at which time the North American historiographical trends thus interpreted the concept of family slaves. In the 1970's onwards, other thinkers, as Katya Matosso not had the same vision of his predecessors and believed that the slaves had been yes, free will, even if a prisoner and body were able to remain in peace, provided they could have family ties in the slave quarters.

Research has shown, mainly in the axis of Oeste Paulista, in the period of slavery, slaves had stable families, especially on big property. Not being accepted as a credible vision of Bastide.

In the late nineteenth century, formal marriages of slaves are falling, perhaps as a sign of the end times slavery. It should be noted that formal marriages are those who were duly registered by the competent bodies, in this case registries and the churches.Already consensual marriages are those from an informal agreement of the parties who agreed to live together.

Another relevant issue in the family is that slavery in regions where the slaves were being regardless of family unity was maintained more frequently than in regions where there was traffic in black and exporting labor-slave labor. In the late nineteenth century the Brazilian Northeast and the farmlands of Virginia in the United States were less breathless and his economic slaves were being transferred to other areas. In Brazil, the south began to get more slaves and the U.S. state of Louissiana longer resembled the state of Sao Paulo in this aspect.

Florentino Fernandes and raised two totally divergent and credible hypotheses: Florestan believed that destroying the family, the slave, without reference would refer more easily to captivity for not having a reason and a principle to fight for. Florentino, already saw it differently. Believing that you encourage the formation of the family property in slaves to become more peaceful and connected with the property because there is reference to your life, your family. Thus the slave who has a family becomes hostage to his master, because it means leaving escape slavery, but also let your loved ones behind.

Other observations can also be made on the constitution of the slave family in Brazil, one is with respect to ethnic groups of Bantu and Nago. The latter, more numerous in Bahia, would be one of the reasons, according to some scholars, they are the centers of major conflicts, have a nature more averse to slavery. While the Bantu, who were most of the Southeast were more likely to accept the harsh conditions of life. There was also stress that the city caused this relationship work and family life of slaves. On farms, the slaves were closer to his family, in the city, many were available in slaves and were hired, getting more time away from their families, increasing social tension.

Since the 1990s have been seen more academic work aimed at finding these families of slaves through the historical records.Studies on the family of slaves in Brazil also showed surprising number of marriages between people of different ages, young blacks often intermarried with slaves who were already in menopause. Slaves older, probably because of better conditions sought to marry new slaves, and these in turn wanted such facilities that could pose a quieter life and freedom in certain cases, in the case of black buy his own freedom, and the slave older could have joined afford it. Endogamous marriages (where the parties had at least one parent in common) was another characteristic of the family of slaves.

Many questions are unanswered in the past of slavery, the data we have today are mostly the slaves of the nineteenth century. Prior to this date, people had no interest in recording the lives of blacks, who were seen as things, objects. Even in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, already close to our age, there were few records of marriages legal notices by parishes, which shows the indifference towards the social figure of the black man.


In Paraibuna, São Paulo, in the nineteenth century, a slave can not accept the conditions proposed in his marriage officiated by the church, searched for her Mr. Luis Marinho Tolosa and with the helpof the great influences in contemporary society and the church, gotan unprecedented The annulment of the marriage of a slave.Caetana, slave, preferred the freedom of being a slave respectedthan humiliating life of a free man. In the history of slavery there onlypain and suffering. There are many accounts of respect for human dignity, despite the inferior condition of the slave workers. The worst thing we see at this stage of the Brazilian story is thatfamilies of slaves were liable to be undone by a mere convenience of the gentleman who could sell them to various lords and the breakdown in family and kinship ties, by a mere whim of its owner.Unfortunately in a world where economic values have always spoken louder, is not difficult to imagine how these atrocities haveoccurred frequently.


GRAHAM, Sandra Lauderadale – “Caetana diz não”: histórias de mulheres da sociedade escravista brasileira, tradução Pedro Maia Soares, Ed. Cia das Letras, SP

Rosalina Rocha Araújo Morais, disponível em, acesso em 11/04/2011, acesso em 11/04/2011

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