Off the Shelf: Five Reasons Black Voices in Brazilian Literature Matter

The Graded Gazette

Our world is a vibrant tapestry of cultures, yet literature falls short of reflecting this diversity. Black authors and authentic characters are greatly underrepresented. Literature is a powerful medium, and through stories, we can delve into complex issues like inclusion, diversity, and racial discrimination.

Brazilian Black Awareness Day, known as Dia da Consciência Negra in Portuguese, is observed annually on November 20, the day on which Zumbi dos Palmares, a symbol of resistance to slavery in Brazil, was killed in 1695. During the 17th century, Zumbi led a community of runaway slaves known as Quilombo dos Palmares, and fought against Portuguese colonial dominance and oppression. This day commemorates the resilience and fortitude of Afro-Brazilians.

In light of this significant holiday, here are five reasons we should discuss the importance of the representation of Black voices in Brazilian literature:

  1. To raise awareness about racial inequality and educate future generations.
  2. To deepen understanding of Afro-Brazilian culture and history.
  3. To expand the number and type of narratives presented in literature.
  4. To promote ​​respect for all types of people, fostering unity and social change.
  5. To strengthen the sense of belonging to a diverse culture, which originated from a mixture of ethnic groups.

The Graded libraries have a great number of books written by Brazilian authors of color, offering compelling and enlightening perspectives while highlighting delightful aspects of Afro-Brazilian culture. Check out the collections below of books in English and in Portuguese:

Consciência Negra - LS Library Collection

Consciência Negra - US Library Collection