Juliano Moreiro: On his 149th birthday, Google doodle pays homage to Brazil’s “Father of Psychiatry”

Juliano Moreira (1872-1933)

Note from BBT: This is a scenario I’m very much familiar with. Going to Michigan schools as a child, a teenager and as an adult, I leanred nearly nothing about Black History and black people who made important contributions to society, whether American or outside of the United States. There is one good example I still remember to this day.

Once upon a time in my teens and early 20s, I worked at a popular supercenter stocking groceries. One particular night, me and a bunch of other black men were gathered around just kickin’ it in one of the aisles. One of my friends joined the circle of about seven young black men and picked up the pricing stamper that was set on my stocking cart. This tool could be called various things. A stamper, a pricing gun or a garvey.

As my name is Marques, my friend made a joke and also visited an important name in Black History. Picking up the pricing tool, he asked the other guys, “Do ya’ll know what this is? Marques garvey.” The joke of course was that my name was Marques but by matching my name with the pricing tool, he referred to famed Jamaican black nationalist, Marcus Garvey. The only problem was that, at the age of 19, I didn’t get the joke because I had never heard of Marcus Garvey.

So why is it that, even going to private and suburban schools, I was taught about people such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mao Tse-Tung, Joseph Stalin, Thomas Edison and many other white men, but during my formal education, I hadn’t learned anything about important black people? Going to a community college in my 20s, this changed a little, as I had a few black professors, but considering my 13 years of schooling by that point, a college class that included the award-winning documentary The Eyes on the Prize simply could not be considered a sufficient education on Black History.

If that was my experience in the United States, imagine the invisibility of black people in Brazilian classrooms. As I’ve said before, for many years, and arguably still today, black Brazilians are far more likely to be familiar with African-Americans such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X rather than Afro-Brazilian figures such Abdias do Nascimento, Lélia Gonzalez or José Correia Leite. And similar to my own experience, they are more likely to learn more about prominent Afro-Brazilians and Black History outside of the school setting through independent organizations or internet resources such as YouTube or the internet in general.

This scenario is slowly changing through formal education with the implementation of Law 10.639 that makes the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture mandatory in all Brazilian schools. In reality, this law has been little effective, but with more Afro-Brazilians earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as Ph.Ds and in turn doing research about prominent names and moments in Afro-Brazilian history, this information is becoming more available.

Consequently, this is leading to more black Brazilians learning about people such as lawyer Luis Gama, writer Machado de Assis, quilombo leader Dandara and engineer André Rebouças. Or the man who is recognized as the “father of Brazilian psychiatry”, Juliano Moreira, who was featured in today’s Google doodle image on what would have been his 149th birthday.

Let’s learn a little about him.

AfroTV: “Did you know that the father of Brazilian psychiatry was a black man?”

Juliano Moreira: the black psychiatrist who revolutionized the treatment of mental disorders in Brazil

Bahian scientist and professor humanized the treatment of psychiatric patients in the 20th century and fought against racist theses that related miscegenation to mental illnesses in Brazil.

Tribute made by Google to Juliano Moreira on the day he would turn 149

In the beginning of the 20th century, he “revolutionized the treatment of people with mental disorders in Brazil and fought tirelessly to combat scientific racism and the false link between mental illness and skin color”.

This is how Google presents the work of Brazilian psychiatrist Juliano Moreira, by paying tribute to the work of the scientist and professor from Bahia on this 6th of January, on the 149th year of his birth.

Moreira was born in Salvador, in 1872, the son of a black woman who worked in an aristocratic house in Bahia – some biographies indicate that she was a slave herself and other reports mention that she was a descendant of slaves. Only in 1888 did Brazil pass the Golden Law, which determined the end of slavery.

The reports on Moreira’s life highlight the condition of poverty in his origins and the fact that he had to overcome strong obstacles to enter the School of Medicine of Bahia at the age of 13. At just 18, he had graduated and was one of the first black doctors in the country, according to the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

That was where Moreira’s career began and he would come to be considered the founder of psychiatric discipline in Brazil, as pointed out in an article in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry.

Juliano Moreira

Moreira is one of the great names of relevant black scholars in the history of Brazil and who are often erased from school curricula, in an example of how Brazilian education accentuates racial inequality and gives less attention to black heroes in several areas.

Moreira entered medical school at 13 and, at 18, was already a doctor

Humanized treatment

Five years after graduating, Moreira became a professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine of Bahia, Federal University of Bahia (UFBA).

In addition to the fight against racist theses that linked miscegenation to mental illnesses in Brazil, Moreira is also recognized for humanizing the treatment of psychiatric patients.

In 1903, he took over the direction of the National Hospice for the Alienated, in Rio de Janeiro. There, he abolished the use of straitjackets, removed bars from all windows and separated adult patients from children.

Moreira abolished the use of straitjackets, removed bars from all windows and separated adults from children at the National Hospice for the Alienated.

Moreira abolished the use of straitjackets, removed bars from all windows and separated adults from children at the National Hospice for the Alienated.

Juliano Moreira: Founder of Psychiatry in Brazil

The Brazilian Academy of Sciences points out that, thanks to Moreira’s efforts, a federal law was passed to guarantee medical and legal assistance to psychiatric patients. He was also one of the founders of the Brazilian Society of Psychiatry, Neurology and Legal Medicine and of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, of which he was president.

When he was vice president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Moreira received Albert Einstein on his first visit to Brazil.

During his career, he also participated in many medical congresses and represented Brazil abroad, in Europe and Japan.

He died in 1933, in Petrópolis, after being admitted for tuberculosis treatment. After his death, a psychiatric hospital in Bahia was named Hospital Juliano Moreira.

Source: Terra

About Marques Travae 3645 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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