Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brazil: Brazil honors 17th-century anti-slavery leader Zumbi dos Palmares

Over 12 states in Brazil yesterday celebrated the Day of Black Consciousness in honor of the country's 17th-century anti-slavery leader Zumbi dos Palmares.

The People's Daily reports, that in cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, people held parades against racism, discrimination, prejudice, homophobia, sexism and religious intolerance.

Many economic and financial activities around the country were suspended on the day, including the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, which is set to reopen on Monday.

The Day of Black Consciousness was first celebrated in 1978 to commemorate Zumbi dos Palmares, a black Brazilian who led a group of runaway slaves in Brazil, known as the Quilombo dos Palmares, to fight the then Portuguese colonizers in the 17th century and was killed in an ambush on Nov. 20, 1695.

The social gap between black and white citizens has been narrowed drastically since Brazil abolished slavery in 1888 due to governmental efforts.

However, black Brazilians still account for about 35 percent of the country's population living below the poverty line.

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