Wed Jun 19, 2024
June 19, 2024

Black women: A History of Struggle Against Male-chauvinism, Racism and Capitalism

It was enough that the first African women arrived to Brazil, to start a bloody fight gender, race and class. The idea of the ‘home queen’ did not fit. We did not have access to a home, or the right to be queens, as many of us were in Africa. ‘Fragile sex’ does not fit our history, either.

By Claudicea Durans.


During the 380 years of slavery, we were next to black men in the hard work of the farms, in the organization of the “quilombos” (villages where fugitive slaves took refuge). Nor were we only slaves. On the contrary, it was in rebellion against slavery that we recovered our humanity, ceasing to be the “thing that speaks” or a sexual object of the colonizer. Our history of struggle in Brazil began with slavery, and those were not conciliatory struggles. We organized runaways, ambushes, guerrillas, and we help building and leading several quilombos, where we even had the right to be polygamists. We also lead major insurrections, like the Malê Revolt, from January 25th to 27th of 1835 (in Salvador, racial uprising of slaves from the Hausa ethnic groups, and Nago, of Islamic religion), and the Sabinada (autonomist revolt in the back then province of Bahía, between November 6th of 1837 and March 16th, 1838), both in Salvador, led by Luiza Mahin.

Out with all racists, sexists and LGBTfobics!

The Map of Violence and Murders of Women in Brazil, made by IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research) during the PT government (between 2003 and 2013) reveals the number of murders of white women fell 9.8%, while the murder of black women grew 54.2%. Only in 2013, 66.7% more black women and girls than white women were killed. In the metropolitan areas, black women earn 172% less than white men, according to the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) in a 2009 research. This numbers must have increased with the economic crisis.

The Secretariat of Public Policies for Women showed that “from 2000 to 2012, deaths from bleeding among white women fell from 141 cases per 100,000 births to 93 cases. Among black women, they increased from 190 to 202. By abortion, the death of white women dropped from 39 to 15 per 100,000 births; among black women, it raised from 34 to 51”.

Black and Female Wave

It is the reaction to so many attacks that puts us at the forefront of major demonstrations in our country. That is why Elizabeth, wife of Amarildo[1], and Maria de Fatima, mother of Douglas[2], became symbols of the fight against black genocide, as well as many other black women in the country. For us, this reactionary wave is actually a white and bourgeois reaction to our struggles in the peripheries, in the quilombos, factories and schools. Most of the left wing commits a crime by not trusting their struggles.

By joining the PT, they freeze our struggles, which only reached such level because they are occurring through the outside of the organizations controlled by the PT. These organizations capitulated to the government of PT, to male-chauvinism and to racism, as they only see the reactionary wave precisely at the moment when we most struggle. Our task is to stand with women and men of our class. We defend the “Out with Temer” but we do not want Dilma back, as if there was someone hit by her government, it were black women.

Race and class: Black Women Have History!

On July 23rd and 24th, the Women in Struggle Movement (MML) promoted the 1st National Seminar on Black Women. The event was a deliberation of the 1st Women National Encounter, and has great importance to construct a gender, race and class action.

It is necessary to take on the task of organizing the elaboration of a program and an organization in which black women have a voice and feel represented. The Encounter is a space for education, debate and exchange of knowledge and experiences. It is also a way of saluting the courage and willingness to struggle shown by black women throughout history.

The debate topics include identity and resistance of black women, male-chauvinism and racism in the workplace and unions, African-rooted religions and cultural forms of resistance. In a moment when black women are vanguard of the important struggles of the working class and youth, this seminar gains even more importance, because black women have, and continue to make, history!


Originally publiched by CSP-Conlutas.


Latin American and Caribbean Day Black Women

July 25th is the Latin American and Caribbean Black Women Day. The holiday was instituted in 1992, at the First Meeting of Afro-Latin-American and Afro-Caribbean Women, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It is an important day to internationalize the struggle and resistance of black women against gender oppression, racism and class exploitation.



[1] Amarildo Dias de Souza was a construction worker, dissapeared in July 14th, 2013, by the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro. His case became a symbol of the police abuse suffered by poor, black people of the favelas.

[2] Douglas Nascimento was a 22 year-old odontology student, who tried to stop a fight against two women at the outside of a pub. He was taken away by the police and appeared dead the next morning with severe injuries in the cranium.


Translation: Valentina Santamaria.

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