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African Religions in Brazil, Negotiation, and Resistance: A Look from Within

Nei Lopes
Journal of Black Studies
Vol. 34, No. 6, African Descendants in Brazil (Jul., 2004), pp. 838-860
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3180916
Page Count: 23
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African Religions in Brazil, Negotiation, and Resistance: A Look from Within
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Abstract

This article explores the nature and formation of African-derived religions in Brazil and their importance for Black people's unity and resistance against historical denial and social exclusion. The history of the diversity, development, and leadership of these religions is traced succinctly. For centuries, they have been subject to racist stereotyping and police persecution. Today, although religious freedom is professed to be a constitutional right, persecution continues in the aggressive anti-African activity of evangelist Christian sects, often with the support of mass communications media. African religions come from two major cradles of civilization: the Congo and the Gulf of Guinea. Central African cultural heritage imprints a strong ancestral tone to contemporary African religions in Brazil, whereas the West African matrix has shaped their liturgical and visual presentation and given them intermediary deities. African religious communities have been a major agent of resistance and social cohesion.

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