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Wed, 04.28.1954

The First ‘Festa Confederada’ is Celebrated

Confederate Graves in Brazil

*On this date in 1954, the first Festa Confederada was celebrated.  This partial preservation of the United States of America’s ‘Old South’ happens yearly at the end of April in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, near Sau Paulo, Brazil. 

With the historic confederate loss of the American Civil War, many white-American southerners fled to Brazil, some for racial beliefs, others to avoid treason charges.  They were also enticed to Brazil by offers of cheap land from Emperor Dom Pedro II, who hoped to gain expertise in cotton farming; the so-called Confederados developed a small community in the countryside of Sao Paulo state in a place now called Americana.  The U.S. settlers eventually assimilated with local Brazilians; some are racially mixed, while others no longer speak English.  

Current organizers say the festival represents tradition, ancestral heritage, and happiness and is not associated with the negative connotations of the American Confederacy.  The flag carries no stigma or political meaning in Brazil.  However, many in the United States consider the flag a symbol of racism, slavery, and segregation.  Public outcry over those connotations has led to the steady withdrawal of the flag from public display in recent years.  It is organized by Brazilian descendants of families who fled the United States during the Reconstruction between 1865 and 1875.  

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