"Conversa" (Solano Trindade)

“-Gosh black man! who said that we are not people? who was this madman, if he has eyes he doesn’t see -What was it that you did brother to talk like this? -I planted cane fields in the northeast -And you brother, what have you done?  I planted cotton In the southern fields for blue-blooded men that paid my work with flogs of a whip.” (Translated from Portuguese)

“-Gosh black man!
who said
that we are not people?
who was this madman,
if he has eyes he doesn’t see -What was it that you did brother
to talk like this? -I planted cane fields in the northeast -And you brother, what have you done? 
I planted cotton
In the southern fields
for blue-blooded men
that paid my work
with flogs of a whip.”
(Translated from Portuguese)

Brazil / 1960

Solano Trindade was born in Recife, Brazil in 1908. He is considered one of the key literary figures that first wrote about Blackness and Black Pride in Brazil. He was devoted to cultivating a concrete Afro-Brazilian identity and literary movement. Like “Conversa,” many of his poems denounced racism. Trindade’s work was especially important, considering slavery in Brazil only ended in 1886. Trindade felt it imperative to correct and redefine what it meant to be Black in a post-slavery Brazil. Trindade died in Rio de Janeiro in 1974. Trindade’s then-revolutionary ideas about Black pride and societal racism broke the ground for modern-day BlacK-Brazilian pride and cultural groups like Olodum and Ile Aiye to exist today. 
In English “Conversa” means “Conversation.” This poem is written in the style of a conversation. In it, an enslaved Black Brazilian man tries to convince his fellow workers that they are people. This dialogue is a microcosm for the kind of call to action and dignity that Trindade himself promoted amongst Black-Brazilians.

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