Avengers of Zumbi : the nature of fugitive slave communities and their descendants in Brazil
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In 1988, Brazil ratified Article 68, a constitutional provision that granted land rights to rural black communities descended from fugitive slaves known in Portuguese as “quilombos.” This dissertation argues that Article 68 and its fitful enforcement reflect longstanding battles of the black peasantry over land, resources, and autonomy that originated under slavery and took new forms during the twentieth century. Focused on the Atlantic Forest of São Paulo state, this study draws from archival research and oral histories to reveal how rural Afro-Brazilian political mobilization is bound with past and present socio-spatial struggles. This political, cultural, and environmental history engages with the literature on critical geography to illuminate the racial dynamics of what is often referred to as the “environmentalism of the poor” in Brazil.