Letter from Black students to the Department of Social Sciences at the Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil, 2017.

"No matter how little the story is told
I will not forget you, my people
If Palmares no longer lives
We'll make Palmares again."

By José Carlos Limeira.

We, Social Sciences Black undergraduate students, gathered at the 3rd General Assembly, held on 10/26/2017 at the Social Sciences Students Center, hereby DEMAND the inclusion of at LEAST 2 Black authors in every syllabus, starting in the following semester, 2018/1. The tone of this letter is one of demand because we understand that, historically, the knowledge produced in the field of Social Sciences has profoundly contributed to the permanence and strengthening of racist ideologies in Brazil and abroad.

It is urgent, therefore, that our program takes a different stance toward these hegemonic narratives, which are even taught and read in classes, unlike the thought of Black authors. Specific cases can be discussed, as in elective courses with different formats. However, we cannot continue reading and discussing a strictly white and masculine bibliography after more than 100 years of the abolition of enslavement. In recent years, higher education has changed due to affirmative actions and social movement efforts, and we need to be aware of the other bodies and intellectualities that occupy it.

We understand that our claim is supported by the primary acts and norms published by the Brazilian Department of Education, which establishes the functioning of the Social Sciences Programs, and by the Secretariat of Continuing Education, Literacy, Diversity, and Inclusion. For instance, we may mention the National Plan for the Implementation of the Federal Curricular Guidelines for Education on Ethnic-Racial Relations and for Teaching Afro-Brazilian and African History and Culture (2004), which assigns higher education institutions the responsibility to:

  • Include content and curricular disciplines related to Education for Ethnic-Racial Relations in the undergraduate programs, as expressed in §1 of art. 1, of Resolution CNE /CP n. 01/2004;

  • Develop academic activities, meetings, journeys, and seminars to promote positive ethno-racial relations for its students;

  • Dedicate special attention to undergraduate programs and teacher training, ensuring adequate training for teachers on Afro-Brazilian and African History and Culture, as well as in the content proposed in Law 11645/2008;

  • Develop in students of its undergraduate programs and teacher training the skills and attitudes that enable them to contribute to the education of ethnic-racial relations with emphasis on the production and critical analysis of books and other materials that are in line with the Curricular Guidelines for the Education of Ethnic-racial Relations, the Teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African History and Culture, and with the subjects determined by Law 11645/08;

  • Encourage research, development, and technological innovations in the subject of ethnic-racial relations, contributing to the construction of a plural and republican school;

  • Stimulate and contribute to the creation and dissemination of scholarships for scientific initiation in the subject of Education for Ethnic-Racial Relations;

  • Disseminate to the state and municipal education departments the existence of institutional programs that can contribute to the dissemination and research on the subject in association with primary education.

We know that not half of these criteria are currently fulfilled in our program and University. And we understand that including Black authors in the syllabi is to contribute to the debate and guarantee space for the Education of ethno-racial relations to happen (considering the recent racist events in our program). We know that some Professors do include Black authors in their syllabi, but this has occurred in an isolated way. We intend this practice to become a policy of the Social Sciences Program.

We also affirm that we do not want to read only Black authors who debate issues related to ethno-racial relations. Contrary to what whiteness used to think, our people have extensive and diverse works that cover several areas and subjects.

We propose to help Professors by sharing archives, texts, and other resources
as a way to impede them from justifying not listening to our claim by saying that they don't know enough about Black authors' work.

We also wish for other possible non-racist worlds, which unfortunately do not fit in this letter.


Lucas Inácio, Ana Beatriz Moreto, Vanessa Carvalho, Gabriela Ramos, Ana Luiza Ozanan, Igor Torquatro, João Victor Santos, Washington Galvão, Tamyres Batista Costa.

Letter delivered to the Department of Social Sciences on November 14th, 2017.


Our struggle. Inscribed in our bodies. For more than 500 years, undated and unpublished. Life.

National plan for implementing federal curriculum guidelines for the education on ethnic-racial relations and for teaching Afro-Brazilian and African history and culture, 2004. MEC/SECADI.
Available online.