Family that enslaved black woman for 38 years financed their daughter’s medical school tuition with woman’s pension

Note from BBT: I swear this story gets worse every time I look more into. I mean, the original story was disgusting enough as it was. A black woman was maintained in a condition to that of slavery for nearly four decades. Stop! That’s enough right there. It would be repugnant in any country, but in a country in which 4-5 million Africans were enslaved with the institution only ending about 132 years ago, it becomes a reflection of how slavery continues to mark the country in current times.

Brazilian society, for the most part, continues to reject tooth and nail any actions taken to attempt to even up the racial disparities between whites and non-whites and then we see yet another example in which people cruelly take advantage of another human being’s social status that was most likely directed connected to more than three and half centuries of human bondage. But all of that still wasn’t enough.

Since the story broke a few weeks back, we have learned that the family that exploited the woman also used her to in a scheme in which they would basically earned extra income as a result of the exploitative situation. There were parts of this story that I didn’t quite understand, but thenas more details came out, all I could do was shake my head. Amazing how people can could come up with such intricately developed schemes to exploit their victims.

Check out the story and see if you agree…

First, after speaking about her ordeal of being enslaved for 38 years from the age of eight, the victim, Madalena Gordiano, detailed how she didn’t even have a doll to play with as a child. After being freed from her situation, she finally got one in 2020. 

Recently liberated, Madalena Gordiano holds her first doll

Madalena Gordiano receives first doll and spends Christmas with her family after 38 years in a condition similar to slavery in MG

December 26, 2020

In the eyes of Madalena Gordiano it’s possible to see the marks of someone who lost her childhood, adolescence and much of her adult life. Upon receiving her first doll in her life as a Christmas present, the 46-year-old woman lets out a smile from someone who is free to live everything that was taken from her. Mada was released in Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais, after spending 38 years in a condition similar to slavery, working simultaneously for two families, with no work registration or salary.

Madalena spent Christmas with the family that welcomed her after her story appeared on a segment of the Fantástico news journal a few weeks ago. She was 8 years old when she knocked on the door of a house to ask for a piece of bread. At the time, the owner of the house, Maria das Graças Milagres Rigueira, refused to give her food and said she would adopt the girl. The woman, who is a professor adopted Madalena and, from then on she was considered “almost family”, and lived there for more than three decades.

With no schooling, doing housework for the family and never receiving a salary, time off, vacation or personal freedoms. Madalena’s story changed after an investigation by the Public Labor Prosecutor’s Office in November.

Modelo Gabriela Versiani, girlfriend of singer Kevinho, said on her social networks that she met Madalena at the home of one of her best friends, the daughter of Madalena’s boss, but that she didn’t understand that she worked as almost a slave at the Milagres family house. “Like all of Brazil, I was shocked. Unfortunately and ironically, I know some characters from this story so shocking that it happened and, in the 21st century. I met Madalena on some of the few times I was in the house where she was found. I was much younger, that is, even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have had the understanding or discernment to understand the serious situation that was going on there. I also hope and very much hope that justice is done,” wrote the model.

Note: In the scheme that was uncovered and recently revealed, we learn that Madalena was actually married during the time in which she worked as a slave. If you’re reading this story like me, you would naturally wonder, ‘how is it that Madalena was married but still continued to work as basically a slave?’ If that’s not enough, then I learned that her husband was like 80 years old. What gives? Read on… This could be turned into movie or at least a documentary with ALL of the proceeds going to the victim! Shameful! I hope the family behind all of this gets what’s coming to them!

Madalena Gordiano was kept in conditions similar to slavery for 38 years

Family who kept a woman enslaved for 38 years, used her pension to pay for their daughter’s medical course in Petrópolis

The Milagres Rigueira family, who held Madalena Gordiano, 46, enslaved for 38 years, used the BRL 8,000 pension she received to pay for their daughter’s course at the Faculdade de Medicina de Petrópolis (Petrópolis Medical School). The information was disseminated by auditors from the Labor Prosecutor’s Office (MPT) to the UOL news portal. The article was released this week.

According to information from the news portal, the Milagres Rigueira family used the pension for 17 years. In addition to paying for medical school, the money also paid for the family’s life. The portal reported that Madalena has an income of BRL 8,400 from a marriage to a former World War II combatant, but never had control of the money, which was managed by Maria das Graças Milagres Rigueira and her son, Dalton César Milagres Rigueira.

Maria das Graças Rigueira (left), Dalton César Milagres Rigueira (center) and Valdirene Lopes da Costa (right) are accused of controlling a BRL 8,400 pension to which Madalena Gordiano is entitled; trio is suspected of having kept Madalena in slave-like conditions for 38 years

The daughter graduated in 2007 and according to information published by UOL, Maria das Graças Milagres Rigueira reportedly organized Madalena’s wedding so that the pension money could pay for her daughter’s college. Madalena’s ex-husband was uncle to Dalton’s wife and was in poor health at the time of the marriage.

Translation of photo subtitles: Raissa Lopes Rigueira, Dalton and Valdirene’s daughter, a medical student since July 2017. Her college tuition was paid for with Magdalena’s pension. There are reports from neighbors that Raissa mistreated and humiliated Magdalena in public. Raissa was/is a friend of blogger Gabriela Versiani

The news portal also said that according to the Public Ministry of Labor (MPT), the family’s income, without Madalena’s pension, is incompatible with the expenses and properties belonging to them. The family owns a four bedroom property financed in the noblest area of the city of Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais, with installments of BRL 1,700, and pays the college tuition of two daughters, one of them also a medical student in Uberaba, with monthly fees of BRL 6.8 thousand.

Madalena lived in a regime similar to slavery since the age of eight in the family apartment located downtown Patos de Minas. She received no salary, had no rights, and lived the life of a recluse, under the supervision of her bosses until the end of November 2020, when she was released by labor tax auditors and the Federal Police (PF).

Note: Just to close this story, I guess one could argue that, technically, Madalena’s pension wasn’t morally hers as she was basically used to marry a man only for his pension. But on legal grounds, the money would have been hers even if we consider the unscrupulous manner in which it was attained. It’s a case of one wrong on top of another wrong, multiplied by yet another wrong. I would love to know how the courts will try to repair this woman’s life that was completely destroyed. I hope she is rewared in the same manner as people are when they serve time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. 

Source: O Povo, Yahoo, Tribuna de Petropolis

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. Once again White Supremacist find a way to benefit of the backs of Black people. This needs to be seriously investigated.

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