November 20th - Black Consciousness Day in Brazil

Photo by Paulo Lima (2013). All Rights Reserved.

The 20th of November is a symbol for all the black movement in Brazil. The date marks the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, who died in 1695, an icon of resistance to slavery and the main mark of freedom. The Day of Black Consciousness was established in the country to be celebrated on November 20 by Law No. 10639, January 2003. The same law made it compulsory to teach about history and Afro-Brazilian Culture.

The states with the largest number of cities that have joined the holidays are Mato Grosso and Rio de Janeiro. It is noteworthy that the Bahia state with the largest contingent of black population in the country, does not have the date as a holiday in any city  

The date of November 20 was chosen because it marks the death of Zumbi dos Palmares. He was killed in 1695 after being denounced by a fellow and captured by the Portuguese. The day also recorded the end of the Quilombo dos Palmares, the largest in the country, located in Alagoas. The site came to house more than 30,000 blacks. In the last Assembly of the Congress of Black Women and Black Men (Conneb), held in Sao Paulo, many leaders, including those participating in the Union of Black Equality (UNEGRO), proposed November 20 to become a national holiday.


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