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Educação / 29/03/2021

The patrician José Cláudio Nascimento and the black experiences of popular education

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The patrician José Cláudio Nascimento and the black experiences of popular education


There are already many scholars who recognize the figure of Abdias do Nascimento when it comes to black activism in the post-abolition period. This does not happen by chance, since this black intellectual was on several fronts of activism and resistance the Afro-Brazilian population. Among one of the most famous was his participation in the management of Teatro Experimental do Negro (TEN), with other black intellectuals, such as Guerreiro Ramos, he built seminars of national proportions. Anyway, we know that he did not act alone and among the figures who were part of his sociability network is the black patrician José Cláudio Nascimento, a personality still very little known among researchers who invest in the history of post-emancipation and Brazilian education.

On November 5, 1949, the newspaper Diário Carioca reports on one of the activities promoted by the National Negro Conference, led by the aforementioned Teatro Experimental do Negro. The table of that day was chaired by Abdias Nascimento with the participation of Guerreiro Ramos, with interventions by Edison Carneiro and Sebastião Rodrigues Alves. The Rio newspaper reports that the work “took place in an atmosphere of great animation” and mentions some of the speakers. Ironild Rodrigues, the then young Haroldo Costa, Ademária Ezequiel dos Santos and José Cláudio do Nascimento were present at the table that addressed the problem of black education. This last name is recognized here as a great piece to understand part of the history of Brazilian education and black activism between the 1930s and 1950s.

Having the same surname as Abdias and Maria de Lourdes do Nascimento, even though he was not a blood relative, José Cláudio do Nascimento was an individual who brought contributions about “the problem of black education” in the hills and favelas of Rio de Janeiro. In the technical and practical field, José aimed at the social elevation of the black Brazilian. But what was the justification found to invite this professor to participate in one of the first events of this size, which brought together a significant part of black activism and intellectuals? Simple. In addition to his important participation in political entities such as the League of Portuaries and the National Crusade for Education, the teacher was responsible for the construction of at least five schools across the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The relationship between literacy and the activism of black social movements is nothing new. In the interfaces of Afro-diasporic activism, we see the importance of educational projects organized and / or aimed at colored populations in what today is understood in Brazil since the slavery period. In Rio de Janeiro, it was no different. The methods used to carry out these projects could be heterogeneous, but, in most cases, they had common goals.

In his first appearances in newspapers such as Diário da Noite, A Noite and Diário Carioca, the patrician is reported in 1938 as one of the port workers who donated school materials to schools in Blumenau, in the southern region of the country. These actions were part of a recurring movement of the National Education Crusade with the aim of "nationalizing" schools that gave preference to a German curriculum. The professor apparently shared the proposals of Getúlio Vargas, for whom, in fact, he had at least one meeting in 1942.

Of the five schools that José Cláudio was in charge of between 1939 and 1956, two of them received the name Instituto 13 de Maio and Escola José do Patrocínio, under the justification of paying homage to important moments and personalities of the black Brazilian culture. The other three schools were: Escola Engenheiro Miranda de Carvalho, Escola de Caxias and Escola do Morro da Rocinha. Even the number of beneficiaries of their projects was reported by the newspaper A Manhã, counting at least 230 students. When expanding his schools and gaining more and more notoriety, the teacher began to receive assistance government agencies in the Federal District (at the time in Rio de Janeiro) and count on teachers to work in some of the classes. In an article published by the newspaper A Noite, on February 27, 1944, we can see what was the look on the patrician: “It cannot be denied that José Cláudio do Nascimento is a useful man. It is not very bright, nor does it dream of academic awards. But the little that is known - or very little, if you wish - generously shares it with those who know absolutely nothing. You could call him ‘the booklet apostle’… Just go to a place without schools for children and immediately think about founding one. In what way? Either. He sees no difficulties, nor spares sacrifices ”.

It is important to note that the political and sociability networks set in motion by José Cláudio do Nascimento were not enough to avoid some adversities related to the esp steels on which he built his projects. Such was the case for his school located in the Favela do Alegria, which was destroyed, with, among possible causes, the growing real estate speculation in that region.

In turn, in a photograph published in the Diário Carioca in 1945, the teacher, wearing a light-colored suit, appears in front of everyone, including many children who were his / her students. It is noteworthy the degree of unhealthiness in the Favela do Alegria and the number of children that could be included in José's school project.

There are still many episodes in the trajectory of this important figure that are hidden, many questions have no answers. However, the news the newspapers themselves already explain at least the representations of a black professor who did a lot for the literacy of these “quasi-citizens”. Among the main conclusions that we can draw stories like this is that educational projects organized and / or aimed at black populations are less seen as complete exceptions to the rules with the growing historiographic contributions, and that the connections between movement activists Black social groups are much stronger than we might ever imagine. As Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto argues, these men and women did not act in isolation and that, however complex they reveal themselves to the contemporary researcher, the networks woven by individuals like José Cláudio do Nascimento were broader than we thought until recently. time ago.

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