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Wed, 09.16.1931

Frente Negra Brasileira is Formed

Frente Negra Brasileira

*On this date, in 1931, Frente Negra Brasileira was formed.  Translated to English, the Black Brazilian Front was part of the Black Movement of Brazil and was Brazil's first Black political party.  

It was formed in 1931 and active until the November 10, 1937, suspension of political parties by the then president, Getúlio Vargas.  Arlindo Veiga dos Santos organized the party following the Revolution of 1930. It was the first national organization of Afro Brazilians. The party spread from São Paulo to most of the major states in Brazil, including Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, Bahia, and Rio Grande do Sul. Most chapters were in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Rio Grande do Sul. Many of the chapters were informal and lacked a connection to the main organization.  

Frente Negra Brasileira was active within the community, provide social gatherings and services, and addressed its members' political concerns. On December 17, 1931, in the first year of its existence, the Frente Negra Brasileira achieved one of its first success stories, the desegregation of public skating rinks. This followed a protest by the group to the police and threats of violence if the rinks were not shut down. As a political party, the Frente Negra Brasileira also would run candidates for political office. Although they never successfully put a candidate in office, they were able to increase the number of registered voters before the 1934 election.

Outside of the political concerns addressed, Frente Negra Brasileira also provided services to its members, including literacy and vocational classes, health clinics, jazz and samba bands, and legal services. On Sunday nights, the group would host a domingueira meeting open to the public. These meetings would last roughly 4 hours, becoming a social gathering for community members. During these events, the first part was for business, and the directors would speak about what was going on, but afterward, there was time for music and poetry.

The Frente Negra Brasileira published a newspaper, A Voz da Raça (The Voice of the Race), which provided news about black communities in Brazil and worldwide.  The Frente mobilized Brazil's Afro-Descendant community for racial equality. Desegregation campaigns and popular education focusing on literacy were just two ways the Frente engaged in activism.  

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