Note from BBT: For anyone who knows me and my political views, they can attest to the fact that I saw this past election cycle for the Presidency of the United States as yet another bamboozling of the black American population.
We know, of course, that Donald Trump simply wasn’t the man who was going to look out for the interest of US black Americans, those who are descendants of the slavery era. Trump in terms of personality, character and posture, and to be the worst example of an American President I’ve ever seen. The things he said and tweeted, the way he talked to people, his vulgarity. For many, George W. Bush had been the worst, but, in some ways, we sort of just looked over Bush because he just seemed a bit like the village idiot. Trump, on the other hand, came across as an a** and it seems he KNEW it and just didn’t give an eff.
For many black Americans, there was simply no choice in this last election. In short, ANYBODY BUT TRUMP! Trump was the first and only US President I’ve not been in the country to witness. My thing is, I understand how we see Trump, but after eight years of black folks simply being happy with President Obama (whose administration was in many ways actually worse for African-Americans) simply because he was a black man with a black family, it seems that people still don’t want to see his two terms for what they really were.
When his VP Joe Biden ended up winning the Democratic nomination I thought to myself, “This is the best the Democrats can come with?” I won’t get into why I ask that question, but realistically, if Obama did NOTHING for black folks, what did blacks folks really expect out of “Uncle Joe”. Maybe the name Joe is about right, because black folks are about to be “joe’d” up by yet another Democrat. Seems we still won’t heed what Malcolm X told us about Republicans and Democrats over 50 years ago.
If people really believed Joe Biden was gonna do something for the situation of black Americans, I think people should have waken up after hearing the leaked audio of Biden talking to the Congressional Black Caucus. To me, Biden sounded like a slave owner talking to his slaves. During the entire election cycle, did we not get it when NONE of the Democratic candidates wanted to even seriously discuss the idea of reparations to repair some of the damage done to African-Americans after 246 years of slavery and another 150 plus years of white supremacy. It was very revealing. Whether it was Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, the now VP, Kamila Harris, or Biden himself, ALL of them danced around the issue.
What do we get instead? Oh, let’s put a black woman’s face on the US 20 dollar bill. Sure, that should make an enire population whole again. Who needs investment, reparations and inequality when we can get a black face on the money that is so unequally distributed? Sounds like a fair deal to me, what say you? SMH once again.
Anyway, the idea of placing Harriet Tubman’s face on the US $20 bill is even being discussed in Brazilian circles. Of course, there are many Afro-Brazilian women who deserve to have their faces on the Brazilian currency, the REAL. Of course, the Brazilian REAL doesn’t even have historic figures on its bills and not that it could possibly address the status of the Afro-Brazilian population, but let’s take a look at some legendary black Brazilian women that should be considered if the topic was ever a serious discussion.
United States will have black activist on $20 bill; we list 7 women for the Brazilian Real
Courtesy of Universa
At the head of many struggles for equal rights in society, black women do not always have their merits recognized. The United States intends to change this reality: this week, the White House announced that it will follow up on the project to change the figure of the $20 bill to that of the black activist Harriet Tubman, a former slave who helped other black people free themselves from the same fate before and during the Civil War. As a result, she has become an important figure in the US abolitionist movement.
The Biden administration will resume the proposal to put her in the $20 bill. According to US presidential spokesman Jen Psaki, “it is important that our banknotes, our money… reflect the history and diversity of our country”.
The change, if confirmed, will put Tubman in the place of the face of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson, who had a statue with his figure attacked during protests over the death of George Floyd.
In Brazil, the silencing of activists also happens, as in the case of the murder of councilwoman Marielle Franco. Universa then took the lead to suggest the names of black activists who are part of our history and who would look great to be honored on Brazil’s Real bills.
We bring forth seven suggestions, but you can suggest other names in the comments of this text.
Dandara was a Brazilian heroine synonymous with resistance and organization within the Quilombo dos Palmares during the period of slavery in the country. Nevertheless, sometimes her participation in history is reduced to the place of “wife of Zumbi,” the black leader of the largest quilombo of the colonial period.
Dandara dos Palmares was recognized for her contribution as a warrior recently. In 2019, her name was written in the book of heroes and heroines of the Homeland, which is in the Tancredo Neves Pantheon of the Homeland and Liberty, in Brasilia, 22 years after Zumbi’s registration. Even though the figure is so popular, there is no historical consensus about her existence. The racial researcher Nei Lopes, for example, says that Dandara was a fictional novel character who was incorporated into Brazilian history.
The quilombola leader Tereza de Benguela
It’s the queen who calls, right? If England has the face of Elizabeth II on the pound bills, in Brazil, this impression would be with the image of Tereza de Benguela. She was a boss lady in the Quilombo do Piolho, or Quariterê, in Mato Grosso, and she led the group after her partner, José Piolho, was murdered. There is no information on where she was born. In mid-1770, the leader was killed by state soldiers.
In her honor, in 2014, July 25th was instituted as the National Day of Tereza de Benguela and the Black Woman. An icon that deserved to be circulating around on the real bills that we use on a daily basis, isn’t it?
Afro-Brazilian culture also represents struggle and throughout history has been built, protected and spread by many black women. The most emblematic in the history of samba is Hilária Batista de Almeida, known as Tia Ciata. The Bahian woman who moved to Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of the 20th century was the mãe de santo (priestess in the candomblé religion) and sheltered in her house, in the place known today as Pequena África (Little Africa) were halls for dance, music and a terreiro (religious temple). Her name was never mentioned in the composition of the first recorded samba, “Pelo telefone“, but there are scholars who put her also in this central place of the birth of the musical genre.
Maria Firmina dos Reis
The novelist Maria Firmina dos Reis anticipated the abolitionism in Brazilian literature and denounced, in 1857, the oppressions that enslaved women and men lived in under the slave system. She was the first black author to publish in the country, which until then only had white writers talking about slavery from their perspective.
Laudelina de Campos
Laudelina de Campos has in her biography a term very associated to black women: pioneering. First in the fight for the rights of domestic workers, she was a black woman who founded, in the early 1930s, a union to represent the category, in Santos, São Paulo. Her name is a milestone in the history of these women’s achievements that, only in 2013, with the PEC das Domésticas (Maids’ Law), managed to have access to rights already provided for in other categories of professionals.
Not every historian recognizes the existence of Luiza Mahin, for claiming lack of historical proof. She, however, would have been a leader in the Revolta dos Malês (Uprising of the Malês), in January 1835, as a free African in Salvador, capital city of Bahia. She is considered the mother of the abolitionist Luís Gama, an important figure in the history of black Brazilian men and women.
The militant, philosopher and intellectual Lélia Gonzalez could also be on the banknotes of our currency. One of Brazil’s leading black feminists, she was one of the founders of the Unified Black Movement, the MNU, in the late 1970s, and has always projected the needs and achievements of black women amidst the country’s social and racial inequality.