Festa Confederada

Just as I’m not surprised to see teens flying Confederate flags from their vehicles, unaware of the varied meanings it has and what they’re truly representing, hearing the Lost Cause myth shared with me from others assured of their own beneficence is common in any state that seceded from the United States.  Those who believe this myth see the Civil War not as a war fought over slavery but over states’ rights and secession.  There are other tenets to the myth, but today, I’ll focus on the argument that slavery wasn’t the foundation of the Confederacy.  U.S. history doesn’t often include information about citizens who choose to leave it.  Brazilian history holds the thread that unravels this invention that slavery wasn’t the root reason for secession.  During Reconstruction following the end of the Civil War, Brazil had not yet banned slavery.  Once the Civil War was over and Confederate states had failed to preserve the institution of slavery, some Confederate families immigrated to Brazil.  Many of these families rebuilt their wealth through slave labor and continued the ways of the Old South in a different country.  In São Paulo, you’ll find Americana with a majority white population and a yearly Festa Confederada where people dress up in Confederate attire and fly the Confederate flag.  Moving to a different country and learning a new language is incredibly challenging.  Had they not had access to the slave trade in Brazil, I find it very unlikely that any of these families would have left the United States.  Slavery was eventually abolished in Brazil and some of those original Confederate families did return to their former country, but those who remained left a legacy and along with it, proof that the Civil War was always about power and the sinful belief that anyone has authority to own another human.

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