Terras de Preto
“Terras de Preto” or “Lands of the Black” is a documentation about rural communities of black communities in Brazil, also known as “quilombos”, descendants from runway slaves who founded villages in hiding-places during the Brazilian slavery period. These populations preserve, up to this day, part of their original structures, based on the construction of an Afro-American cultural identity.
This work focuses on nine of the most representative rural black communities in Brazil. All of them are formed by extremely particular cultures, economy, habits and folk-religious parties, which became known to urban areas only recently, through a national mapping research. Such effort was triggered by the inclusion of a clause in Brazil’s 1988 constitution, which entitles the remaining quilombo communities to the collective right on the occupied land.
Historically, the “Quilombos” phenomenon represented a silent revolution in the countryside of Brazil. Rural black communities left their secular anonymity and became owners of the land that belongs to the whole community. It is a challenging political process. It is estimated that there are more than 900 communities in Brazil with the same situation, most of them are still waiting for the legalization of their land.
Nowadays, their challenges are to manage their autonomy and progress without sacrificing the constructed culture, their way of life and the environment where they get their sustenance. The new reality, which is to be constructed, points to huge areas of land collectively belonging to rural black communities. These communities now also claim the access to public services such as education and health; they develop self-sustainable projects and policies of environmental preservation. A new character has risen in the Brazilian rural society: Afro-Brazilian people owner of land who claims their rights; the keeper of the forests and outback all over the country.