I designed this website to be a resource and a works-in-progress. The site was built in English, first launched in 2012 and then re-designed in Feb 2019. I am seeking volunteers to translate the new redesign into French... and Spanish, Arabic, Yoruba, Kikongo... (I'd like to thank Gabriel Modesto Machado and Apatou Minger for providing the translations in PT and FR for the previous site.) All of the texts were written by me, except where otherwise noted. If you have any issues with photos usage or credits, please just let me know. My native language is English, but I live in Brazil and speak Portuguese, so feel free to contact me in either language. A full Portuguese translation of this site is coming soon...
My name is Sadakne (suh-DOCK-nee) and I moved to Rio de Janeiro from the US in 2003. Since 2004, I've been doing quite a lot of research on the local African history of the Marvelous City, as she is known. This website is a summary of the work that I've been sharing with various individuals who've expressed interest in the subject.
I am not a tour guide. I am an historian, and this research is in my field of Labor History. I've been curious to understand why matters of color and race are framed so differently in two countries that share very similar histories. What was it about the institutionalization of chattel slavery in these two colonial countries (The United States and Brazil) that might account for completely different contemporary situations vis-a-vis race?
As Black people in the diaspora, we face complex structures and systems imposed on our bodies, our identities, our daily lives that are different from the impact of colonialism on the African Continent. I hope to expand the "diasporic discussion" of who we are, not just as Afro-Americans or Afro-Brazilians, but as the African People of the 'New World' Diaspora. The point of departure for this discussion is The Atlantic Moment, the Maafa, the Middle Passage. Those of us—like me—who are not the direct descendants of kidnapped and enslaved Africans in the Americas share this moment none-the-less, as it is the construction of racism that justified chattel slavery which marks us as Black people today. It informs every aspect of those structures and systems imposed on us.
I love talking to other Africans, diasporic or continental, about these issues. If you are in Rio de Janeiro and would like to meet up, please contact me. I can take you on the walk or we can just chat over coffee.
This brings me to my economic principles of the matter:
Rio de Janeiro is a favored touristic destination. That's great! Tourism is a major source of income for the city and that's great! HOWEVER, I think this city has made enough money off of Black bodies, off of slavery, off of racism. We don't have to pay money to look at the bones! We have a right to know our history. These are our stories. We are entitled to them. They already belong to us. I share my work without charge and I maintain this website for free.