Latin America: An Institutional and Cultural Survey

Asynchronous Blog Post on Pan-Africanism



Pick ONE of the following assignments and post your answers in the comment section down below. Deadline: 10/21 before the class.


How did the Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenge the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil? Describe how they adapted the ideas of négritude to the Brazilian context? (Pages 155-163)


Explain Nicolás Guillén’s vision of bringing together his double heritage in “Ballad of the Two Grandfathers”?  Explain his negrista point of view by referencing the ideas presented by Davis and Williams (Pages 152-155)

Ballad of the Two Grandfathers- N- Guillén


Discuss how Aimé Césaire initiates his poem “Elegy” by praising the beauty of the tropical region but also showcases the painful effects of colonialism in the Caribbean. To examine his négritude poetics integrate Davis and Williams’ discussion (Pages 148-152)



Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about Pan-African poetics do you want to bring into the discussion?

27 thoughts on “Asynchronous Blog Post on Pan-Africanism”

  1. Option 1: How did the Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenge the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil? Describe how they adapted the ideas of négritude to the Brazilian context? (Pages 155-163)
    One of the way the Teatro Experimental Do Negro(TEN) had adapted to the idea of the négritude is that they want black to have access to full citizenship and full rights. They achieved this through the usages of creative expression.One such creative expression was by plays/ theaters. The purpose of négritude is to reclaim value of the African culture. they utilized music and traditions of the African cultures. The reason why they challenge racial democracy is because they believe that Brazil is a racial democracy in other word they believe that the reason why the change of social status is not because of racial discrimination but rather due other factors like class or gender. The white also believed in racial whitening which is that they believed that eventually blacks would advance culturally and genetically and that they may eventually they would turn white. TEN had refused to accepted it which is why they adapt the idea of négritude to make sure that they don’t lose their traditions.

    1. Hi Jadon,

      Your analysis of the Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) is very comprehensive. It really speaks about the situation in Brazil when they claim to be a racial democracy but treatment of blacks and darker-skinned individuals was lacking. I find it very liberating how, as you mentioned, creative expression was used as a powerful way to ‘reclaim the value of the African culture’ and push for the rights of such people. I would also include the author’s note that the particular racism in Brazil was “of custom, not law, and the waves of discrimination were regionally unequal” (page 163). This highlights the difference with the U.S government which enforced discriminatory legislation, while the Brazilian democracy advocated for mulattos and continued gradual social erasure of darker-skinned or unmixed Blacks.
      My favorite part of your analysis was when you mentioned how the TEN opposed the ‘racial whitening’ of the Brazilian population. It is thought-provoking when others advocate for your group of people to assimilate to be accepted better, further highlighting the perseverance of those who pushed back with negritude. Furthermore, as Nascimento stated, Negritude is not intended as a permanent fixture, but will continue to hold importance until black people are no longer denigrated for their race and are respected just like others (page 160).

    2. I agree with this statement. To add on, it is important to keep culture, especially black culture alive. Slavery dismantle the lives of innocent people, their identities were stripped away from them. The reason why black people existed was because of profit. That is why négritude reclaimed African culture to show everyone the culture, tradition, music that was stripped away from them. To showcase their identity to the public, informing everyone what is black culture. There weren’t be a BLM movement (black lives matter) if it wasn’t for Négritude. Négritude began the road of equality for black people because it help the black community to embrace the négritude within themselves.

  2. Option 1:
    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN), also known as the Experimental Black Theater, is created by Abdias do Nascimento to challenge and protest against the idea of racial democracy. The whites support mulattoes, who are people that are half white and half black, over blacks, and they promote the idea of whitening, while TEN used performances to promote the idea of Negritude. The purpose of the performances is to allow the audience to see Negritude’s dignity, to show that they should be respected and treated seriously by people of other color and races. Ten believe Brazilians are influenced by the French and the United States. They are not giving a chance to the black people in their own country to reveal who they really are. Nascimento and TEN adapted to the idea of negritude by launching conferences to discuss the racial problems in Brazil. They wanted to abolish slave trades and allow the blacks to theorize themselves and get rid of the dominant ideology that was given to them by the white people.

    1. Tiffany, I really agree with your response. I thought it was really powerful how TEN used art as a way to preserve and celebrate black culture. Like you said, Brazilians followed in the footsteps of the American and French causing them to dismiss black people and their culture. TEN was able to combat this by demanding “that blacks receive serious treatment on the stage.” By creating this image of “black dignity,” TEN made it clear that all people should be respected, regardless of their race. By creating empathy between black people and other races, TEN began to break down the barriers between them.

  3. Option 1
    Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) embraced negritude and adapted it in the context of Brazil because they went against the common belief or narrative at the time that promoted the idea of whitening and thinking that mulattos those who were half-white and half-black should inherently be more privileged then black people. Furthermore, despite TEN primarily being a theater it still advocated for social change and held formal protests. TEN advocated for a symbolic return to African culture in Brazil and challenged the common ideas of blackness in popular Brazilian entertainment sphere by depicting black people as tragic heroes and just as comics. TEN was a major force in Brazil in making sure that black people were treated fairly and with respect and they ensured this messaged was clear through the use of theater

    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenged the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil by creating a discourse that would reexamine what it meant to be Brazilian through the concept of négritude. TEN used creative outlets such as theatre as a tool to adapt the ideas of négritude. For example, TEN looked for roots of Afro-Brazilian performance traditions and demanded that black Brazilians receive fair treatment on the stage rather than being reduced to a comedic stereotype. To show that blacks can represent human suffering just as well as mulattoes in plays, TEN produced plays with black Brazilians as the tragic hero. Challenging Brazilian stage practices was an influential move—it emphasized that the lives of black Brazilians matter, their stories matter. By holding conferences and producing plays, TEN used the power of discourse to demand that race be part of the national identity discussion and to demand that blacks deserve full citizenship and full human rights. It was TEN’s use of discourse and adaptation of négritude that changed the racial debate in Brazil.

    1. Laura I agree that the TEN challenged the idea of a racial democracy through spreading ideas and creating discourse within the communities about what it exactly means to be a Brazilian within the ideals of negritude. The use of theatre and art to create a visual representation of negritude allows people to understand its meaning regardless of class or stature is an amazing adaptation when it comes to demanding fair treatment rather than being an image for people’s entertainment.

  5. Option 1
    Teatro Experimental Do Negro (Ten) challenged the idea of racial democracy in Brazil by presenting African traditions in a positive light. Ten was defined as a practice of the theory of Brazilian sociology that presented plays, held conferences, and other group activities. The essay states “TEN demanded that blacks receive serious treatments on the stage” (158). They wanted black people to be properly represented in theaters. Black people were usually represented as “festive” or “comic” characters. Ten wanted to broaden black people’s range and help them reach more complex emotions in characters. They wanted black people to have similar opportunities as non-black people and their own roles with real feelings such as love, loss, and pain.

    Ten adopted the ideas of negritude to the Brazilian context through Nascimento. They published art to demonstrate the daily lives of black people in Brazil.“Black Brazilian drama reveals another dimension, in which surges the authentic black voice as a race and man of color” (158). This art’s purpose was different from prior art portraying black lives. Prior to black Brazilian drama, art about black people was created by non-black men. Black people were not properly represented before this. Black people were using their own voices and representing themselves in this new art.

  6. How did the Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenge the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil? Describe how they adapted the ideas of négritude to the Brazilian context? (Pages 155-163
    The Teatro experimental do negro challenged the idea of racial democracy in brazil, they did this by creating the idea that a Brazilian person can also be of color. the image of people of color in brazil was changed through the art of theatrics. the ideology that was presented through plays, literary art, conferences, ect. really helped create a new perception of what is was to be Brazilian through the “filter of negritude”. (pg 157) This was an idea that had to be adopted because of the amount of colored people in brazil not being accepted.
    The ideas of negritude were adapted to the Brazilian context through Nascimiento through representing black in different art forms. Much of the time blacks weren’t displayed in any art form unless it was a negative connotation. TEN produced plays and created art that would influence and cause an impact into how black lives, espescially Brazilian black lives were viewed and represented. i feel that It was TEN’s use of discourse and adaptation of négritude that changed the racial debate in Brazil

  7. Option 1

    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro challenged the idea of racial democracy in Brazil by introducing negritude. Aguinaldo Camargo, a member of TEN, suggested that TEN and its followers will follow the idea of negritude. TEN attempted to change the “vision of the mulatto nation with Negritude.(160)” TEN would focus on using theater to show their idea of negritude. TEN used theatrical form to create a black tragic hero and wanted to show black dignity on stage. TEN’s force of negritude resulted in a transnational ideology that “became a liberating set of ideas for blacks in other regions.(158)” Nascimento viewed TEN as a way to show everyday lives of black Brazilians. Nascimento wanted to make critics understand that all blacks share similar experiences, whether that be in the United States or in Brazil. Nascimento also wanted to assert the primacy of blackness, while arguing for “its full inclusion into the rights and privileges of citizenship.(160)” Teatro Experimental Do Negro started at a time of national identity in Brazil and the ideology of negritude helped the international currency of blackness for the struggles of self-determination. The TEN movement displayed black pride.

  8. Option 3:

    In Aimé Césaire’s poem “Elegy,” Césaire uses a combination of both positive and negative meaning words to describe the beautiful tropical region but also the painful effects of colonialism. He states that there is beautiful greenery like “hibiscus, chalice vines, and Arecas” to show that the land is blossoming and that there is a nice scenery. Then, he begins to use words like “pierced, terrifying, crucified, and tremble” to describe how colonizers are ruining the land and hurting the individuals living there. He states “mulatto women whose necks tremble a bit under the guillotine.” This proves that the colonizers who are conquering the land are most likely enslaving and killing whoever disobeys orders and whoever they deem useless. Césaire’s poem relates to Davis and Williams’ discussion because in the poem, black Latin Americas are treated unfairly and easily disposed of. It was always a challenge for people of African American descent to advocate for civil rights and promote their culture because they were always seen as invisible. However, the Negritude revolution influenced events like the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights movement to gain better treatment for blacks regardless of their skin color. Black writers and artists, especially Césaire, played a major role in the movements and eventually helped blacks gain equality in civilizations.

  9. Option One: How did the Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenge the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil? Describe how they adapted the ideas of négritude to the Brazilian context? (Pages 155-163)

    The Teatro Experimental DO Negro ( or TEN for short) wanted to reevaluate Brazailians through negritude. Negritude was the reclaiment of African culture in Brazil. How Brazailians could also be people of color (Afro-Brazilians). Teatro Experimental DO Negro wanted black Brazilians to have their full rights. For example Teatro Experimental DO Negro used theater as a creative way to express fair treatment Black Brazailians deservehe because the only people of color that white people supported were mulattoes (who were half black and white). White people had also claimed racial whitening where black people would eventually become white as time went on. Through theater, through the performances, traditions were on stages to show African culture. To show how black Brazilians can do other types of roles then be type casted playing stereotypes. In these plays they got to play roles that normally would be passed on them and onto other races. Being in these plays showed how there was so much more to them and for their identities, traditions to flourish. Teatro Experimental DO Negro also had racial conference talks to showcase how to change the narrative place on black Brazilians which made them majorily important to the discussion. Their stance changed the debate about black Brazilians.

  10. Option One: How did the Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenge the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil? Describe how they adapted the ideas of négritude to the Brazilian context? (Pages 155-163)

    option 1

    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) Hope that Brazilian blacks can have status and improve their perceptions of them, so TEN has changed the public’s perception of them through drama, literature and art, conferences and other actions. For example, TEN has expressed through presented plays that Brazilians want to have the rights they deserve ,they should be respected by the public. The concept of “Negritude” fully expresses everything they want the public to see.TEN held a conferences to discuss the racial issues in Brazil, so that blacks could gain autonomy,and change the debate about black Brazilians.

  11. Option 1 :
    The TEN challenged the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil. They did this by spreading the idea and belief of Negritude. Negritude essentially is the act of reclaiming African culture. They opposed “whitening” and would spread Negritude during their performances. They would perform with the intention of making people see African culture. Their goal was to prove that Black people were able to do the same thing as white people in performances and in general.

  12. Option 1

    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) was founded by Abdias Do Nascimento.
    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) is a theater whose main purpose is to challenge the idea of a racial democracy in Brazil. Ideas of negritude are the promotion of black consciousness and the identity of black culture. And negritude is the idea of hoping black people can unite and fight against racism. Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) uses dramatic and theatrical ways to adapt to the idea of negritude. And they wanted to help blacks gain more citizenship. The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) shows The culture and tradition of the black, this helped the black culture to be passed on and spread. And Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) helps expand the role of black people. Black people used to be more comedic on stage, but Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) made black people perform as tragic heroes, it gives people more perspective on them. They help black people have more opportunities to express themselves and have a voice, this increased the pride and dignity of the black people. They also helped break down many stereotypes about black people and changed the way people thought about black people.

    1. I agree with this interpretation, because of what has down for black people in Brazilian culture. Creative expression was key in the movement because it helped give these people character and citizenship in the country. If u look at this through, in the huge scope of things, you can really appreciate this movement for what it was. You can count on one hand the amount of times a movement for civil rights especially for black people ended without chaos. TEN was turned to Negritude to convey the black struggles and experiences in the ‘time of whitening’. African culture was finally returning to the nation because it was the basis and the laid the groundwork for how things came to be. They represented black voices that were suppressed and overpowered by more privileged individuals. The freedom to take part in these creative expression really did help loosen the stereotypes which I liked that you mentioned as well.

  13. Option 1:
    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenged the ideal of racial democracy in Brazil by embracing black culture in theatre and changing the public opinion. After emancipation, Brazilians created a symbolic image of the nation through mulattos. It encouraged the process of whitening the nation and its people, which undermined black representation. Through black Brazilian advocates, TEN was formed and turned to Negritude to show the privileged mulattoes about black struggles and experiences in the time of whitening. It was a movement and symbol of African culture returning to the nation because it was essential in its foundation. Nascimento, the major spokesman of TEN sought for roots of Afro-Brazilian traditions to expose to the nation and finally represent black voices that were suppressed and overpowered by more privileged individuals. To open the eyes of the public, Nascimento aimed to connect black Brazilians with others internationally and overcome invisibility. TEN was an artistic way of advocating for social change for black Brazilians and demand that they be a part of the image representing the nation since they also deserve full citizenship and human rights as anyone else of color.

  14. the Teatro Experimental Do Negro (also known as TEN) challenged the challenged the idea of a radical democracy through Negritude in Brazil. At the time the only people of color Brazilians supported were mulattos, which are half white half black, TEN wanted just as equally to have full citizenship and rights. Negritude helped change the image of people of color as it used art like theater to express and show the value of African culture. TEN didn’t just create plays. its stated int the article that the group ” Produced a magazine, hosted conferences, held literary classes, held programs in group therapy, and supported candidates for office.” All if not most of the things were adapted into brazil to bring about change.

  15. Option 3:
    In “Elegy” as presented by Cesaire, we are introduced to the contrasting situation located in the Caribbean. Cesaire creates a powerful effect when it came to the imagery his elegy; emphasizing on the destruction and inhumanity of colonization hidden behind the beautiful location of the Caribbean’s. To do this, Cesaire uses the natural elements and life of the Caribbean and then compares it to the gruesome details of colonization. For example, throughout his elegy a statement about the beauty of nature is made and then followed by a horrible truth in every other line; e.g.,
    “the beautiful black curls of canafistulas that are very proud
    mulatto women whose necks tremble a bit under the guillotine.”
    This idea brings about a message of contradiction; how can something be so beautiful yet so ugly at the same time? Cesaire does this so that the emphasis on the negative effects of Colonization is maximized to stand out more and as a result, it can leave a larger impact. To demonstrate this impact, Davis and Williams and their texts were able to depict the uglier sides of this effect that Cesaire was specifically aiming for. These texts tackled the demotion of humans, specifically the black, and as a result sparked a movement against these actions that we now know of as Negritude. Although Cesaire’s elegy was only one of few of his contributions to the Negritude movement, his works had inspired many as can be depicted by Davis and Williams, Civil rights, and many other global movements that fought for similar beliefs.

  16. One of the ways the Teatro Experimental Do Negro(TEN) had adjusted to the idea of the négritude is that they wanted all of the blacks black to have access and the capabilities to have all of their rights. These rights would be the same as everyone else’s. They accomplished this through doing plays, or any from of expression that they possibly could. Négritude was set in place so the Africans can take back what was theirs meaning their culture. Their culture includes several dances and using music to get their beliefs across. The white peopke also believed that maybe the black people would adapt to their surroundings and act more like them. This experimental made sure that black people never lost their culture, their traditions, or anything to do with that race.

  17. Option 1
    The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenged the idea of racial democracy in brazil by speaking out on the the inequality that is happening and going against the “whitening” idea. Whitening is the idea that if you are an immigrant of color you are lesser than a white person and promoted people to want to be white or if not you are bad and unequal to them. TEN helped change that narrative by introducing negritude which was meant to help give background and an identity to black people so everyone can understand them. They would spread negritude by performing and teaching people African Culture. With the purpose of trying to get white people to see where they are coming from and their history and what they suffered while also helping black people have a voice in demanding change in society.

  18. Option 1
    Teatro Experimental Do Negro or simply TEN was founded in Brazil, Rio de Jeneiro, by Abdias do Nascimento during the first half of the twentieth century. Their goal was to challenge the ideas of racial democracy in Brazil, such as promoting advantages of whites and mulattoes over whites. TEN tackled these ideas using negritude methods and beliefs that artists and writers should use African subject matter and traditions which will push for a political freedom. So TEN were pushing for more Afro-Brazilian and African performance traditions and for the actors to be black people. These actions had to create a space for black dignity on the stage and to show to the audience that blacks should be respected and treated equally by all people. Experimental Do Negro also launched conferences to discuss the racial issues in Brazil.

    In Davis and William’s text, they bluntly state the embarrassment of their black heritage, even if they didn’t realize it was an embarrassment. They then start to gain black pride and realize that it is a part of who they are, no matter how light their skin got, they still had ancestors that are black and that made them who they are. A similar epiphany happens in “Ballad of the Two Grandfathers,” it starts off by talking about the authors’ grandfathers in almost an unequal stance. The white grandfather is rejoicing over all the sugarcane and slaves he can conquer while the black grandfather is crying over the white grandfathers’ actions. However, towards the end of the poem both grandfathers unite and the equality of both men is more obvious to them; their shadows are the same, their sizes are the same, they are the same. This represents an acceptance of Nicolás’ blackness. He finally views his black heritage as important as his white heritage; one is not greater than the other.

  20. The Teatro Experimental Do Negro (TEN) challenged the idea of a democracy in Brazil by the use of Negritude to evaluate the treatment of Black Brazilians. They used theatre, music and poetry to help promote and spread their ideas on Negritude. In theatre the TEN shared black culture which helped to celebrate and spread it to others. Additionally they had black people perform as tragic heroes since they were seen as more comedic figures within theatre. TEN adapted the ideas of negritude to the Brazilian context by using different art methods to spread awareness about Negritude and the unfair treatment of black people. Other than theatre, the TEN also “produced a magazine, hosted conferences, created literacy classes, held programs in group therapy, and supported candidates for office.” (Davis, Williams 163)

  21. Aimé Césaire’s poem “Elegy” starts with his awe of the beautiful island. Césaire compliments the flowers and vines, “The hibiscus that is nothing other
    than a burst eye” and compliments the beautiful sunset that never seems to set. However, Césaire starts to see the effects of colonization on the island, and starts to mention the murder on the island from the French colonizers “mulatto women whose necks tremble a bit under the guillotine,” Césaire also starts to mention this “herd” that could symbolize the colonizers when they take over the land and act nicely, “the herd finds it and very solemnly in a manner always new licks it amorously”and adore the island they “found.”Then the colonizers slowly start to kill and feed off the disaster on the island “until the first blood savagely appears on the abrupt open claws of DISASTER.” In David and Williams, discussion about the Negritude movement is important since it was inspired by the French Caribbean and the movement uplifted Black writers and was against imperialism and how the Europeans colonized the Americas.

    1. I agree with Gabby’s explanation on Aimé Césaire’s poem “Elegy” it does start with a very beautiful description of the land as a place that’s very Lively and vibrant. but as the poem continues the description begins to change and it becomes more Bleak and terrifying because it’s describing how the land looked when the French colonizers stepped foot on the land. the poem also describes how the colonizers began to treat the landscape people for example saying “ until the first Blood savagely appeared on the abrupt open claws of disaster” Stating this it shows how the land was a very beautiful and however the moment that the front colonizer shed blood on that land everything that the land had to offer and the people have to offer was stripped away and as a result many people did lose their lives.

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