There are so many different sides to the man that Brazil celebrated for so long as its leading activist for democracy…for the African population. For many years, he tried to tell the truth that the country has shrouded behind an image of democracy, sort of like another country we’ve heard of. But he took the time to show the many divisions in the country.
Abdias do Nascimento died at the age of 97, from complications with diabetes, according to the New York Times. The nonagenarian spent his entire life trying to show the distinct differences in the classes of his country were divided by race. Nearly all of the rich people in Brazil are white and all the poor black. This means being disenfranchised from numerous opportunities because of race and appearing to be on a level playing field…like some other country we know.
Nascimento has been vocal for more than 60 years and up until the time of his death about the inequities of his country. This Spring, the activist even sat with Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is now known for the genealogy tracking he’s done for celebrities on his show “African American Lives” on PBS, for his last interview. During the interview Gates asked if Brazil had ever truly had a racial democracy? He answered saying:
“The black people feel in their flesh the lie which is racial democracy in this country,” Mr. Nascimento said. “You just have to look at a black family. Where do they live? The black children, how are they educated? You’ll see that it’s all a lie. You must understand that I’m saying this with profound hatred, profound bitterness at the way black people are treated in Brazil.”
And this has been his position for most of his life. Read more about this dynamic man who the world has lost. His work and his voice will live forever. Read more here.