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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 in with family of 13 brothers and sisters. She led a life of 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 a champion.

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

Africana The Encyclopedia of the African and
African American Experience
Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1999
ISBN 0-465-0071-1

To Become a Political Scientist


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