Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Thu, 03.11.1943

Benedita da Silva, Politician born

Benedita da Silva

*Benedita da Silva was born on this date in 1943. She is an Afro Brazilian politician and activist.

Da Silva is from and grew up in the favelas (shantytowns) of Rio de Janeiro with a family of 13 brothers and sisters. She lived in severe poverty, watched two of her four children die of curable diseases, barely survived a back alley abortion, and was demoralized and humiliated as a live-in maid. As an activist, she organized her neighbors in the favela to get water, sewers, and electricity.  Soon she learned to read and write and then taught other women.

In 1982, da Silva founded and ran for political office in Rio as a Workers Party candidate, becoming Brazil’s first Black city councilwoman. In 1986, she became a Federal Deputy and then Senator.  She fights the obstacles of race, gender, and poverty with creativity and has emerged as a champion.

da Silva, a founding politician, thinks Blacks should play a more significant role in Brazilian politics. Black people comprise almost 50% of Brazil's population yet are underrepresented in politics, the military, and businesses. She advocates a special kind of socialism for the Brazilian government wherein the state blends different social forces while focusing on its internal market.

Вепe', as she is known, still lives in the Chapéu Mangueira favela in Rio, although she flies back and forth to the nation’s capital, Brasília, every week. She dedicates her political life to advocating for a better life for marginalized and oppressed people, especially women, Blacks, street children, and indigenous people.

To Become a Political Scientist

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

these hips are big hips they need space to move around in. they don't fit into little petty places. these hips are free hips. they don't like to be... HOMAGE TO MY HIPS by Lucille Clifton
Read More