African-American Reflections on Brazil's Racial Paradise

David J. Hellwig
Book Cover

HC: $49.50
EAN: 978-0-87722-892-9
Publication: Mar 92

276 pages
5.5 x 8.25

Essays that focus on the authors' observations of race relations in Brazil from the first decade of the century through the 1980s


At the turn of the twentieth century, the popular image of Brazil was that of a tropical utopia for people of color, and it was looked upon as a beacon of hope by African Americans. Reports of this racial paradise were affirmed by notable black observers until the middle of this century, when the myth began to be challenged by North American blacks whose attitudes were influenced by the civil rights movement and burgeoning black militancy. The debate continued and the myth of the racial paradise was eventually rejected as black Americans began to see the contradictions of Brazilian society as well as the dangers for people of color.

David Hellwig has assembled numerous observations of race relations in Brazil from the first decade of the century through the 1980s. Originally published in newspapers and magazines, the selected commentaries are written by a wide range of African-American scholars, journalists, and educators, and are addressed to a general audience.


"Hellwig has made a remarkable contribution to the literature and study of comparative race relations." —Anani Dzidzienyo, Afro-American Studies and Portuguese-Brazilian Studies, Brown University

Table of Contents

Introcution: The Myth of the Racial Paradise

Part I: The Myth Affirmed (1900-1940)
1. "Brazilian Visitors in Norfolk"
2. "Brazil vs. United States"
3. "Brazil and the Black Race"
4. ''Brazil'' – W.E.B. Du Bois
5. "Opportunities in Brazil: South American Country Offers First Hand Knowledge of the Solving of the Race Question"
6. "Brazil" – Cyril V. Briggs
7. "Wonderful Opportunities Offered in Brazil for Thrifty People of All Races" – Associated Negro Press
8. "South America and Its Prospects in 1920" – L. H. Stinson
9. "Brazil as I Found It" – E.R. James
10. "Sidelights on Brazil Racial Conditions" – Frank St. Claire
11. "My Trip Through South America" – Robert S. Abbott
12. "Sightseeing in South America" – William Pickens

Part II: The Myth Debated (1940-1965)
13. "The Color Line in South America's Largest Republic" – Ollie Stewart
14. "Stewart in Error – No Color Line in Brazil" – James W. Ivy
15. Letter by W.E.B. Du Bois to Edward Weeks, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2, 1941
16. "Brazil Has No Race Problem" – E. Franklin Frazier
17. "A Comparison of Negro-White Relations in Brazil and the United States" – E. Franklin Frazier
18. Excerpt from Quest for Dignity: An Autobiography of a Negro Doctor – Thomas Roy Peyton
19. "Brazilian Color Bias Growing More Rampant" – George S. Schuyler
20. "The Negro in Brazil" – Lorenzo D. Turner

Part III: The Myth Rejected (1965-)
21. "From Roxbury to Rio-and Back in a Hurry" – Angela M. Gilliam
22. "Brazil: Study in Black, Brown and Beige" – Leslie B. Rout, Jr.
23. "Equality in Brazil: Confronting Reality" – Cleveland Donald, Jr.
24. "'Mestizaje' vs. Black Identity: The Color Crisis in Latin America" – Richard L. Jackson
25. "Black Consciousness vs. Racism in Brazil" – Niani (Dee Brown)
26. "Brazil and the Blacks of South America" – Gloria Calomee
27. "In Harmony with Brazil's African Pulse" – Rachel Jackson Christmas

About the Author(s)

David Hellwig is Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.