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On 13 May 1924, the black São Paulo newspaper O Clarim d'Alvorada, published a long editorial to commemorate the suppression of captivity in Brazil. Entitled "The redemption of our race," the editorial began by stating: "Commemorated today in all corners of our Brazil so dear to us is one more anniversary of the extinction of slavery; thirty-six years have passed since the great day when our beloved Patria sang the beautiful hymn of liberty before the civilized nations, becoming even more happy" and entered "the list of great powers." Captivity had to be extinguished forever, after all, "what use is forced labor" How could one work with care, receiving punishments in payment; "if labor needs spontaneity and application to be the basis of production" For labor to be performed with all the fundamental dispositions, its executor needs to be well paid. "Our grandparents," warns the author of the editorial, "received in payment for their hard work whipping and flagellation and other terrible punishments." Often worn out from so much suffering, some committed suicide in order to no longer suffer, though many put up with these torments and were "resigned to them," until there appeared some "men of sense and of charity" who understood very well the suffering of those "misfortunate ones who came from the Old Continent, misled by tyrants;" they came to destroy forests, build numerous plantations, here they formed a new generation and "to them and all their descendants Brazil owes its foundations." Standing out among these "men of sense" was a "Noble Lady" to whom we should give the title of mother of all the captives: Princes Isabel, "the redeemer," who also knew the many injustices. "We implore Jesus for her blessed soul and for all those who took part in the campaign of our redemption." 2 2 O Clarim d'Alvorada, São Paulo, 13 maio 1924, p.1.
During the 1970s the organized black movement started an implacable campaign against 13 May. Their leaders argued that Abolition was a 'lie' and a 'farce' - two words used numerous times -, since it did not guarantee the inclusion of blacks in Brazilian society, especially not in the labor market. Instead of a 'Redeemer,' Princess Isabel should have been seen as an 'impostor.' Simultaneously, these arguments were reinforced by the studies of Brazilian intellectuals. For Clóvis Moura no commemorative meaning could be justified for 13 May. In fact, if an objective balance was to be draw up the sociologist from Piauí argued, it could be concluded that this was a date "to be commemorated by the dominant classes and not by the black segments of favelas, tenements, alagados, invasions." The 'marginalized' black had nothing to do "with this day which marked the beginning of a hateful process of disguised segregation, compulsorily placing it on the highest levels of Brazilian society." 5 5 MOURA, Clóvis. Cem anos de Abolição do escravismo no Brasil. Princípios, São Paulo, n.15, p.3-9, 1988. From Florestan Fernandes' perspective, "13 May historically delimits the outbreak of the only social revolution that occurred in Brazil," however blacks were not only 'passive spectators' of this revolution, but were also 'banished' from it. In the 1930s and 1940s the 'black sector' had become aware that Abolition was nothing other than a 'social fallacy,' so that later, the Paulista sociologist states, "the episode is shown as something ephemeral from the privileged classes of the dominant race. It is a historic date of the senhores, the white bosses, of indirect interest to blacks." 6 6 FERNANDES, Florestan. Significado do protesto negro. São Paulo: Cortez; Autores Associados, 1989. p.32-33. Under so many attacks the anniversary of Abolition was undermined, if not actually banished from the calendar. In its place 20 November - presumed date of the death of Zumbi, leader of Palmares quilombo (eighteenth century) - was chosen as the national day of protest and black consciousness.7 7 MAUÉS, Maria Angélica Mot