Blacks of the Rosary: Memory and History in Minas Gerais, Brazil

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9780271026930: Blacks of the Rosary: Memory and History in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Blacks of the Rosary tells the story of the Afro-Brazilian communities that developed within lay religious brotherhoods dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in Minas Gerais. It shows how these brotherhoods functioned as a social space in which Africans and their descendants could rebuild a communal identity based on a shared history of an African past and an ongoing devotional practice, thereby giving rise to enduring transnational cultures that have survived to the present day. In exploring this intersection of community, identity, and memory, the book probes the Portuguese and African contributions to the brotherhoods in Part One. Part Two traces the changes and continuities within the organizations from the early eighteenth century to the end of the Brazilian Empire, and the book concludes in Part Three with discussion of the twentieth-century brotherhoods and narratives of the participants in brotherhood festivals in the 1990s. In a larger sense, the book serves as a case study through which readers can examine the strategies that Afro-Brazilians used to create viable communities in order to confront the asymmetry of power inherent in the slave societies of the Americas and their economic and social marginalization in the twentieth century.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth W. Kiddy is Assistant Professor of History and Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Albright College.

Review:

“In Blacks of the Rosary Elizabeth Kiddy makes a most welcome addition to the history of the African Diaspora in the New World. She skillfully connects the lives, ceremonies, and celebrations of Afro-Brazilians in colonial Minas Gerais to those of their modern urban descendants in the still racially identified communities of present-day Belo Horizonte. She carefully traces the evolution and development of the brotherhoods and congados from their origins to the present and illuminates a fascinating process of negotiation and adaptation through which Afro-Brazilians sought to establish and define their own community identities.”

—Kathleen J. Higgins, California State University, Sacramento



“This well-researched, thoroughly grounded study on the black Rosary brotherhoods of Minas Gerais is a pleasure to read. . . . Few of the many recent works on black Brazil working within the established historiography have explored such an original theme. . . . Overall this is a welcome read, with excellent maps, out of fashion but convenient footnotes, and a readable font.”

—J. Rosenthal, Choice



“This well-researched, thoroughly grounded study on the black Rosary brotherhoods of Minas Gerais is a pleasure to read. . . . Among the book’s pleasures are introductory chapters surveying the history of the Rosary, Catholic lay organizations, the veneration of Our Lady of the Rosary, and Portuguese-African interaction.”

—J. Rosenthal, Choice



“This fresh and insightful endeavor is of interest to confraternity scholars first and foremost because of its focus on sodalities for non-whites—something that, to my knowledge, is very scarce in scholarship in this field.”

—Vanessa McCarthy, Confraternitas



“While her analysis of the twentieth century is less detailed, she raises critical questions for scholars studying the Afro-Brazilian community during these important decades. In general, Blacks of the Rosary is an important book for scholars working on the African Diaspora, the history of Afro-Brazilians, and religious practices.”

—Angela Vergara, Canadian Journal of History



“This is an important story, and Kiddy does a fine job of presenting it to an English readership. The range of the book—from early eighteenth century to the present—provides an evolving lens through which the nature of the traditions and the communities that practiced them unfold. Given the importance of lay religious cultural contribution of Central Africans in the Americas, this book is highly recommended to students and scholars of Latin American history.”

—Alida C. Metcalf, The Americas



“A challenging and rewarding read, the book offers scholars a valuable resource for the understanding of the development of social and religious organization of ‘blacks’ in the African Diaspora.”

—Carole Myscofski, American Historical Review

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Elizabeth W. Kiddy
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