Black Consciousness Day, also known as Black Awareness Day, is celebrated on November 20th in Brazil. This day is used to spread awareness of the African-American community and the journey their ancestors made to Brazil. The date also serves as a social movement committed to acknowledging the value and importance of the Black people in the world by cherishing their existence and standing against racial discrimination.
Black Awareness Day was established to honor the anniversary of the death of Brazil’s Black hero Zumbi dos Palmares. Zumbi was a Brazilian warrior and the greatest civil rights activist in their country. He fought courageously against slavery and colonialism and touched the souls and hearts of countless African-Americans. He was not born into slavery, however, but was born in a quilombo. Quilombos were communities in Brazil of people who had been enslaved and managed to escape. Zumbi fought for the protection of his people against those who enslaved them. The important date to commemorate Zumbi has been celebrated since the 1960s, but the holiday was made official by the Brazilian federal law in January 2003.
Brazilian cities, such as Rio De Janeiro, Alagoas, Amazonas, Amapa, Mata Grosso do Sul, and Rio Grande do Sul, mainly celebrate this holiday. These places campaigned for a symbolic celebration for the end of the city’s continuous discrimination and inequity. Black Consciousness Day is a way to praise the valiant people who contributed to Brazilian culture and were wrongfully enslaved. Teaching Afro-American culture finally became a part of the official curriculum for schools in Brazil, which now includes activities and projects that celebrate the history of African-Americans. Brazil’s main goal is to make everyone aware of the importance with people who have different skin colors, and teaching schools about their history is just the beginning. Even though Brazil has yet to announce any further plans, they have made it known that they want to spread awareness about Black Americans around the world.
This holiday holds great value to the Brazilans who wish to remember Zumbi and commend him for giving them a voice. Not only is Zumbi honored, but all the slaves who fought for their liberty are commemorated. Zumbi once stated, “Pela liberdade entrego a minha vida,” meaning “For freedom I give my life.”