Confederate Festival in Brazilian town where US exiles from the South founded a slave-owning colony after the Civil War faces ban, report says

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Confederate Festival in Brazil

People stand in traditional outfits between dances at the annual Festa Confederada, or Confederate Festival, on April 24, 2016.Mario Tama/Getty Images

  • A festival celebrating the Confederacy is celebrated annually in rural Sao Paulo in Brazil.

  • It’s held in a town where Confederate supporters fled after the Civil War and founded a slave-owning colony.

  • A new municipal law on hate symbols could end the festival, per The Christian Science Monitor.

A new municipal law could mark the end of an annual celebration of the Confederacy in rural Sao Paulo, Brazil, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Festa Confederada, or Confederate Festival, has been taking place in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste for the past four decades, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Thousands of defeated Confederates went into exile in Brazil, unwilling to abide by the Union’s victory and consequent emancipation of enslaved Black people, and set up a colony nearby Santa Bárbara d’Oeste.

They bought hundreds of slaves who they forced to labor for them on cotton fields until 1888 when Brazil became the last nation in the Americas to ban slavery.

Now, on the site of a cemetery for the colony, the descendants of the American Confederates host an annual festival.

people visit grave at confederate fstival

People in period costumes visit a settler’s grave in the American Cemetery during the annual Festa Confederada, or Confederate Festival, in 2016.Mario Tama/Getty Images

The festival includes men and women dancing in period costumes to country music. Attendees use “Confederate dollars” to buy chicken and biscuits, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

There are Confederate flags, including one of the world’s largest, on display at the festival, per The Washington Post.

People dance on a Confederate flag

People dance on a Confederate flag at the annual Festa Confederada, or Confederate Festival, in Brazil.Mario Tama/Getty Images

But a municipal law, which bans the use of racist symbols at public festivals, could end the festivities, according to the paper. A justification for the legislation passed last month specifically named the festival, per The Christian Science Monitor.

The head of the Fraternidade Descendência Americana, a group that represents the descendants of Confederate families, told the paper that he opposes the new law because he believes the Confederate flag does not represent slavery. “For us, the Confederate flag carries the symbolism of resistance to tyranny,” said João Padovez, per The Christian Science Monitor.

A monument to Confederate settlers

A monument to Confederate settlers in Santa Barbara d’Oeste, Brazil.Mario Tama/Getty Images

But activist Cláudia Monteiro da Rocha Ramos told the paper that the local chapter of Unegro, an anti-racism organization, is proposing that Confederate flags are replaced with the modern-day US flag.

“After Charlottesville, [the US] debate about the flag resonated in Brazil,” she said, per The Christian Science Monitor. Unegro started mobilizing after the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, The Washington Post reported.

At the last Confederate Festival in 2019, the last one held because of COVID-19 cancelations, dozens of protesters gathered nearby to perform Afro-Brazilian dances, per The Christian Science Monitor.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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