Greer Lecture: Hiding in Plain Sight

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Greer Lecture: Hiding in Plain Sight

her research centers on the black experience in argentina and has been supported by fellowships from the american association of university women and the ford foundation tonight’s lecture focuses on black and african descended women who actively partook in the construction of racial identities during the 18th and 19th centuries in cordoba drawing from her recently published book hiding in plain sight black women the law and the making of a white argentine republic dr edwards research advocates for a relearning of argentina’s black past and the origins of anti-blackness her research is already shaping a new historiography of discus for discussions of race in argentina without further ado let me turn it over to dr edwards so first of all i want to thank vcu the history department in rocio for this invitation and also just in general i mean you invited me back in the spring and then it was up down up down i’m so happy it ended up working out so thank you so much thank you um with that i’m going to go ahead and quickly um share my screen so we can go ahead and get into this lecture okay so again thanks for this opportunity and i’m going to go ahead and present my talk hiding in plain sight black women in the making of a white nation so um i think one of the unique opportunities i had while i was writing the book um was to actually see it in action and i think that’s one of the things that for those of us that do the colonial period sometimes we don’t get that opportunity but picture it it was 2014 and it was argentina versus germany in the world cup final bets were made ideas of who was going to get the last goal was messi gonna do his thing all this was swirling but what captured my attention was the question that many people threw out there which was um how is it possible that all the other south american teams have a black player germany has a black player and argentina does not have one single black player it was featured that question was featured on the huffington post it was also featured in the route henry lewis gates jr also wrote about it and i literally jumped in my seat when i was reading this and i said yes i think i i have the answer please so it’s one of those opportunities again studying something that’s 200 years ago and and being able to actually provide a a solution or a scenario to explain why a country such as argentina which prides itself in its whiteness and i stress this being very european very very an exception to the rule but if you look at some of these players i hope you can see my my car my car my curse so excuse me you can see phenotypically especially this one number two it does not look phenotypically white or at least how we would describe them in the united states even the goalie here right oftentimes they would be described as morocco’s but yet somehow that is kind of covered under the cloak that argentina is a white country and thus the celebration of whiteness has become ultimately the national narrative but i still question is a black argentine possible and that’s really what i i you know in the midst of this i said this is where i’m going to go specifically with my book um so i shifted gears to to deal just with that question and um one of the things that i found was

okay to be fair i can see how this continues to be somewhat of a of a true statement right that there are no blacks in argentina you constantly would hear that i mean based off of my research in 1778 30 of the population was of african descent that included the labels negro mulattos free and enslaved throughout the rio de la plata but then we have by 2010 excuse me with the most recent national census that that population in which they asked of you of african descent was less than a percentage so if you were to just look at the census data you would say okay yeah it might be potentially this very white country and and respectfully so however for me how do you get from 30 to less than one percent and so this i continue to um look at and understand what was happening to create this national narrative of whiteness and in order to do that i chose i i two directions one i decided to go west to cordoba and two i decided to focus on her so with that um i want to start with cordova a beautiful city um one that is oftentimes juxtaposed uh with buenos aires and oftentimes it’s considered to be more conservative more traditional than buenos aires um that is today and of course definitely during the colonial period um so why why well to be frank it wasn’t buenos aires and what i found vis-a-vis the historiography is that when explanations or questions or or writings about the black experience were published the majority of them st dealt with buenos aires and in in many respects still do and so windocites has unfairly become the national conversation about race it is the capital city it does have half the population but what about the other half and that’s important as we continue to understand how race is um created we must consider various socioeconomic situations and cultures that will impact how labels come about and more importantly how people respond so the other decision i decided to make when looking at cordoba was to go back a little bit further in time so rather than focus on the late 19th century again this is the the watershed moment that many focus on in terms of blanca miento and the whitening process i thought okay so how do you actually get there what what has a republic nation in process decide that it’s quote unquote final solution is this importation of european immigrants as the only means or ways in which to become modernized it doesn’t happen overnight and so that’s where cordova again was a ended up being a really good case study to look at that process as well beyond buenos aires um so i just want to very briefly just uh ask that you just look at this map here because this map uh is about seven by ten of the origin seven by ten blocks excuse me and this is the original map that was created in 1577 and what also made me want to continue with cordova is that essentially from 1577 to the mid 19th century cordoba stays roughly about the same size so we’re looking at but in 1778 with the first census about a population of roughly 7 000 people in the city and by the 1840 1850 the city has only grown to about 13 000 so that’s another reason that i said this is a really good opportunity to explore a different ex afro-descendant experience um and then lastly uh one of the reasons why i chose it is when i finally went to the archives it was it was an untapped treasure so i was so excited about that and because of its size i was able then to cross-reference

the lives of my my characters that i discussed in the book and then i’m going to discuss it shortly and that’s also what made it a very exciting find so lastly before i move on i just wanted to highlight these two photos in the corners this one here is the cabeldo the other one is the cathedral both of which are located here on the map and this is the place of the plusha major and um i would often times walk about well today i’ve been about four or five miles uh excuse me blocks from the archive and i would sit in front of the both the the uh excuse me the cathedral and the cabeldo of course they’ve been built on since um the 16th century and it just amazed me how um colonial in many what respects cordova’s downtown area still is today so that was the one one choice that i made the other choice i made was to focus on her and this is where i always enjoy giving a shout out to ebony magazine who wrote their journalists wrote this article argentinaland of vanishing blacks in 1976. um this is about four years before um george andrews wrote his book and so in many respects i would i would argue that this is um one of the pioneering studies for us um at least in the anglophone u.s side in terms of understanding and knowing about the black experience in argentina this is actually three sisters that are are being highlighted and ultimately it goes on to discuss why this population is becoming smaller but again i just wanted to highlight how these three sisters have the beautiful brownness the phenotypes are on display from chocolate to caramel to vanilla right so i just put this up there also to highlight her experience and what she then brings also to the conversation of understanding why or how argentina becomes part of this or develops this and embraces this whiteness so um first and foremost i think one of the ways in which what i really liked is that by focusing on her i was able to very quickly dismiss this old myth of her being a victim there were no black men left because of these wars that killed them all and so you have this miscegenation that happens that quickly i found was not the case and that is also the advantage of going prior to the wars of independence to see how she is navigating these realities um the other thing that i found very important to do was then well where is she right and that had to be then the focus she in this gendered economy of labor of economy um she is part of the domestic sphere and thus the household had to become the focal point and again i want to highlight then michelle mckinley’s work which really helped me to see her in action in particular her idea of the economy of emotion and focusing more on levels of intimacy that go beyond just the sexual aspect right that to me was was key as i started to read the various sources that i collected various court cases um baptismal records marriage records um and no on probate records and what i found is you know to paraphrase her is that intimacy is not just within the bedroom per se is in a sexual form but it’s also formed by soiled bed sheets so i want us to think about how that works out i mean and what i think she was getting at and this is what i really grabbed hold of is that vulnerability that also takes place within the various levels of power dynamics at play constantly within the household to have someone take care of you in that way which i’m sure for many was it may have

been very embarrassing she was part of that and so we cannot forget those moments of vulnerability as also being a part of those intimate acts that did assist in her seeking various ways and strategies to better her life and that of her children so the other thing i want to stress too is what a most recent book came out a recent book that came out by jessica johnson um i just finished it i had my students read it just a couple weeks ago and i i also found if i i’m finding that we are our works engage quite nicely because of how she discusses freedom and these developments of kinship that happens and also the not so easy choices that are made but choices that are necessary based off of the choices and i stress that are given to them okay so that also moves us beyond just wishing that they could have done this no this is the reality of what quarter of argentina in the 18th century was and these were the choices that she had and she decided in many respects to move forward in seeking levels of whiteness sometimes it’s hard to swallow but that is the reality of what some african descended women chose to do um lastly one other fact aspect that i really wanted to i saw when i worked with her was how to engage citizenship differently citizenship is often a masculine trope notion especially during the 19th century with the wars of independence um and one in which many of these scholars and historians have also taken hold of to discuss um the disappearance of of uh bla of excuse me of the black population and i said you know but where is she at so again we’re taking this notion of the domestic sphere and i want to bring that also to the republican period so post um the post um war war period and also the the recreating of what is in cordova and see that she still plays a very active role even if it’s oftentimes hidden in plain sight but she is very much part of creating these citizens and at times very much in tandem with what various state agents want to see out of this growing free population so those are the two choices i made and why i’ve made those choices so as i continue this talk then i’m just going to go ahead and highlight um these various roles whether they were concubines wives mothers or daughters and how they assisted and helped and molded to create a white argentina so the first one is concubines and often times with concubines one of the things i found very quickly is that they were in tension with the law i.e cohabitation was illegal in cordoba but yet somehow everybody was doing it um and so i ended up stumbling on this gem of a court case that i’m still working myself through through through the actual court case it’s so long and so juicy at times um but i came across a woman named berna bella visa monday and her story is ultimately a love affair with a priest and this love affair takes place for over 10 plus years and one of the things that i just cannot get over with is how much he put at risk for her so clearly there is a relationship that goes beyond just the sexual in the end he gets threatened with excommunication because of this this affair that he just will not let go of what i also find very interesting when i looked at bernabella and again because of the fact it was such a small city i was able to find her in other places is that when this priest his name is don jose lino de leon bought her he also bought her child but verna bella was already um

very strategic in how she was maneuvering because i found the child’s baptismal record and i found that she had was able to remove her from the book of costa baptisms and put her in the book of spanish baptisms it just had her name it did not mention the father so already we’re looking at someone who clearly is looking at ways to better her life and especially that of her child i mean essentially she made it so then her child now without doubt will always be considered white so as i continue to work this this case forward and again noticing the various levels of intimacy what i found also was that he very much supported her transformation and what i mean by transformation is eventually what we’ll find or what i found is that she went from being his slave to being his senora in which he demanded other slaves also call her senora what also i think was important to this aspect and i must stress is that she was noted for being the color of a spanish woman so already her proximity to whiteness was there so it just needed a little bit more to cross over and so this emulation that she had oftentimes again breaking another law sanctuary law and wearing gold and wearing silver and wearing silks was actually not just an individual choice but rather this priest’s decision to support her transformation again understanding how these concubines and this and this is an exceptional case but in general the ability for their lover to support them and move them forward i think cannot be ignored and her ability then to capitalize on it at least until they were caught was also extraordinary so that’s one example of this moving towards whiteness that would happen but a more permanent and safe way to seek this whiteness of course would be marriage but i have to highlight something that is so interesting again as i was able to cross-reference all these courses all these all these cases i did find that this priest even though he was very much involved with bernabella he still knew to do his job and what do i mean by that so as we talk about wives one thing i need to stress a little bit of context is that there was a law called the royal pragmatic that came forward that ultimately wanted to curb unequal marriages at the end of the 18th century and so what i did was i gathered then these cases that actually appealed that idea what do you mean so very briefly the law for example says that children under 25 must have their their parents permission before they can get married if not the parents could deny the marriage however the law gave a little caveat in which it said that how if they find that the the pairing is just the couple the patrols could then take their parents to civil court and ultimately fight for their right to to get married and so i looked at those specific cases the marriage descent cases as they’re called and what you have these couples now going against their parents to say no we want to get married and specifically what i looked at were these appeals in which a woman had been accused of having mala sangre or african descent and so what are the ways in which that she could then find or prove that she was not afro-descendant ultimately back to um don jose lino de leon as i mentioned he’s sleeping with and having this amazing affair in which he’s creating this singura um but when it’s time for him to perform his priestly duties i found him in a court case in which he made it very clear that they were unequal and as a witness and they should not get married so again this hypocrisy of going back

and forth how he can do both i think is very telling in general of the ways in which the power dynamics constantly operated one publicly versus one that is privately so looking at these marriage descent cases as i mentioned then the objective for a lot of these women was to prove that they did not have malasangre and in most cases what i found was that most of them went forward and ultimately proved um these of the various witnesses that they had or they were spanish but what i found quite shocking was that there are also cases in which they were accused of having malasangre but rather than claiming they were spanish they instead now claimed they were indian in order to again find a way to get married and so that was the case with manuela in which she was initially accused of having this blackness and she said you know ultimately paraphrasing no i’m not i am a descendant of noble indians and part of the reason why i’m is one the law allowed for indians to be the lobby in the royal pragmatic allowed for indians to be considered distinguished spaniards and two i believe for those that could not phenotypically pass as being spanish women now found another way to again strategically marry who they wanted in most cases it was it was often a spanish man so what this also did was really again almost made me celebrate the fact that i chose cordoba where we see a little bit more of this indigenous and black interaction and especially in these cases that to me was was very telling of a very colonial society and one in which again people were constantly in in in contact with each other and this back and forth was always there in this small quaint city very conservative city however so what i really enjoyed then about looking at these excuse me marriage descent cases was that then i would go on and i would find that they would actually were able to get married and what we find when some of those cases in which we which i looked at inner inner marriages is that some women could be born as i would find in the art in the archives in the census data a slave and known as being negra but then as she slowly but surely um climb the social ladder especially with her husband who are oftentimes foreign spaniards that had recently arrived and or portuguese in one case for example teresa solero she went from being a negra to a mestiza and then a mestiza eventually the last place i found her she was then adonia so it’s clear that marriage allowed for more of a permanent and secure avenue to achieving whiteness but getting back to this in indigenous aspect i think that also allows us to see and understand that whiteness is has a bit of browning also to it and more studies need to then look at this transition from black to indian and that’s something that again i found quite fascinating because i was studying cordova and this issue of in question of becoming and taking on an indian identity came forward again during the republican period in which i found that these in freedom process is very much engendered so one of the ways in which i saw this and this was very different than buenos aires is that a law from 1542 in which it declared that indians were free and blacks were could be enslaved well the law doesn’t say that but we know that the blacks could be enslaved um continue to be

excuse me utilized um during the republican period in cordoba so one of the things i found vis-a-vis a court a court case was um maria guerra and this court case actually began in 1809 it finished in 1817 she was endangered of being enslaved what had happened was that she argues her patron had died and his kids now were coming to claim her and ultimately said that this was his slave she countered and said no i’ve worked in this house but still has my you know grandmother who came from the pompas and i am indian what’s significant is is that because indians were declared free and freedom is excuse me and children took on the status of their mothers that ultimately meant that despite that her grandmother being you know two generations ago in that family the freedom had passed on through generations this is what she was arguing in the end the court agreed okay and so what we find or i found is especially in this case she goes from the potential of being a slave to a free indian and that’s how she’s described she not only receives this freedom but her children and her grandchildren also do because again of this maternal link this is something i found very interesting for cordoba because also during this time frame what came forward in the rio de la plata is the free womb act of 1813. i did not find contested freedoms in regards to that in fact um during in the census data you don’t even really see the use of liberto which is the label given to the children um for a long time in fact in general i did not find that label really being used in the civil um secular sources i did find that however in the baptismal records so i just but i did not find any any court cases such as like what i found with maria guerra and what she was ultimately fighting for her freedom because she feared this enslavement so freedom then becomes a very important aspect during the 19th 19th century and especially with the coming of the wars and as i mentioned before you have the free womb act that came out in 1813 the year prior you have the end of the slave trade you also have the end of tribute so you’re starting to see a freer society develop this is significant however because despite having a freer society governing authorities still did not think that this largely invisible afro-descended population was really ready for freedom so what we find then is the important role of daughters and their role in terms of uplifting the next generation that became very significant um especially in 1811 when i when i found that the one public school for girls actually opened up a classroom for part of girls okay so this in this case with bernadine bernardina excuse me in 1816 what i also found was that her freedom was tied to her going to that school so in her manumission papers the her former owner said essentially you go to this school and you will have your freedom and she went and eventually she became free but it’s again this notion that she’s not quite ready as a child but still not quite ready to understand the responsibility of freedom this is also important because the school was meant to create now these republican mothers so it’s important to stress that these mothers were not just spanish or formerly spanish or what were they now called blanca mothers all mothers played a role in creating

a um more moral civil and um loyal society that is what is key so very briefly what i want to show you this is actually the museum that still exists today the school is still in operation um and it is one of those situations where i was dumbfounded to realize that um the kids are still playing literally right next to the to the museum so what you see is you have a typical bed um this is would be an organ where they would learn how to play that and of course the kitchen this was of course divided so you had those that were white honorable orphans who stayed on the grounds versus those that were poorer and known as the part of the external class that would commute and then they created an additional class a segregated class just for pardas and parda’s the label in itself also is indicative of the oncoming of institutionalized whitening this is important to stress because again we’re not just going to jump from blanca miento one day or we’re not going to just become blanca miento one day whitening just doesn’t happen instead it is a slow process that began at the beginning of the 19th century and you see this vis-a-vis the creation of schools and the attempt by governing authorities and i want to stress in this case it was the church that also makes cordova very unique is that we have the church becoming a very important agent ver in cordoba versus in buenos aires for the 1820 you’re starting to see that the church does not have as much political power so this continues until 1858 as you can see from 1811 to 1858 they have this school for for pardes and it is also an important thing to stress that in 1853 you see the abolition of slavery so they still have five more years of this external class that exists i think that is important again to really see this transition over time seeing how again the household and her story becomes very integral and understanding the movement towards whiteness in argentina and it’s important to again focus on the fact that whether they’re concubines wives mothers or daughters they did participate in making a white argentina so thank you very much i will now switch to off the sh the sharing oh okay let me go ahead and put that down put that down okay and i’m going to turn on the light because i noticed it got dark so i do apologize not working okay so we now have a great opportunity to ask dr edwards any questions that you may have regarding her presentation you should see at the bottom of your screen uh qna and um or excuse me you should be able to see a place to type in a question so if you type in your questions there we will bring up the different questions we unfortunately might not have time to get to all of them but we hope that you will ask any questions on the research the research process and maybe just what research is like in argentina as well so we’ll open up the q a and while people are typing their questions erica i have one for you um um so one question i had listening to your conversation uh and your discussion regarding these these fascinating cases is the question of honor and how you the those honorifics of senora andonia how those informed your research and and what uh sources and what other literature in latin american history supported that analysis so i think right away um what what shocked me is the use of donya especially donya in eight in the 1813 census and i said wait a second this is three years later why are we still using don and donia i mean the

the spanish is is not a good thing right this is not so but we’re supposed to be this new republic and so that really helped me to see the difference the regional difference between cordova and buenos aires not that i i’m not familiar with the buenos aires census but at least thinking in term because you have this growth of the independence movement coming forth from buenos aires you have the counter revolution in cordoba and then to find that they’re still holding on to that really shocked me so that’s what i really started to put more of an emphasis on just when i would see the title donya and then the other way in which i think it helped me to help to inform me is when i would read these court cases and i would see the way that it would could be so easily applicable to all these spanish women but then kind of you could see it you know this and then mercedes that you know it’s just it’d be so such a a contrast i think that’s what also um helped to really inform that i was working on something so when i did see her transition into donya that’s when it was really a moment where i said she has officially become a spanish woman and for me it’s most of of the idea of honor and such really comes from um lyman johnson’s book that he wrote a few years ago um the edited series edited the anthology um i can’t think of who it was with right now but um yeah that’s that’s the book that really helped me to to understand honor at the various levels um also susan sokolos um i mean 1989 sexuality and sex and colonial latin america but her specifically was dealing with the marriage descent cases and that’s one of the things i also wanted to build on so those are the main two that specifically spoke to the rio de la plata wonderful thank you um my colleague antonio espinosa asked a question along the similar lines um he in in particular as a historian of education he is curious about other examples of education as a mean of whitening as appropriated by a people of african descent in in argentina wow um so you know it’s so interesting because i stumbled on this very last minute and i was so excited to even find this orphanage that then it existed and let alone to have this this information i’m only familiar with um san miguel um that that also took place and this is in buenos aires but by the 1820s it is no longer exists it then opens up to the benefit society that takes hold of it um so you also see that the church is no longer part of that conversation anymore at this point those are the only two examples that i have thank you christina pruenza collis asks can you speak how whiteness and citizenship are linked to in argentina compared to how they are intertwined in the u.s do you see similarities or differences yeah i think white nests and citizenship are very much part of the same conversation and and many times i think when the use of being a as they would call it came forward it was always with this imagined notion of a white male so in that respect that’s very similar to the united states in which being a citizen having those legal rights those voting rights for example was very much attached to being a man and very much attached to whiteness as well as class because clearly you had to had levels of money to vote so definitely i see the parallel examples especially throughout the 19th century um in cordoba for example what they did for these black men even though they said they were citizens um they had to be able to show for example that they were four generations out of slavery just to run for office right and two generations um out of two level two generations of freedom just to vote so it’s definitely there and i think you you’d find very similar notions in black codes in the united states thank you um so john mandel um is asks um

if you found any parallels in argentina with um chica de silva um but in the sense that they are mythologized and and the way she’s upheld in not only film and music but also in um in a telenovela at this point no i do not think that there’s someone comparable yet however i think bernabella has potential and so i am definitely going to keep working with her we do have maria romerio de vacay who is now coming forward and she is the woman who was also a captain in the army during independence wars um a very very um courageous story of her being shot six times and such but clearly that is a different um story and narrative of national attention than chica de silva or possibly barnabala thank you um catherine burdick is especially interested in what advice you have those who are studying for the first time colonial records regarding enslaved peoples in latin america in this case chile and what are some of the key themes and questions that might be important insights for studying enslaved people um and then specifically in chile one of the things i would say and this is what i did when i was going there just trying to still find some information is be open to any and everything because what i was shocked to find out about cordoba is they have so many archives and art guys i didn’t even think about but they have an archive for the municipality they have an archive for the university that was founded in 1613 they have their own little archive um of course the church has their archive i found out that this museum has an archive in which you know i found this information about these these black girls so be open to going everywhere and just just for the heck of it say you know i just want to see if there’s anything there and then when you get in there take everything if you’re allowed to use your camera take as much as possible i remember this is something one of my mentors had taught me is you know when you go into the archives get as much as you can so um when i was still doing my dissertation on a on a good day with a tripod and take up the 2500 uh photos on a bad day without the tripod i was taking 1200 but i literally said i want i’m looking for anything that says negro or mulatto i’ll figure it out later what it’s what it means if i can use it or not so that’s that’s what i would say be open and flexible and ready for anything you can find i mean me just going to cordova was just that attitude why not so um access to ecclesiastical records and notorious records are are fairly it’s fairly uneven throughout latin america um so in the archives where you visited in in cordoba and in the national archives in buenos aires did you have any problems with access regarding church records in particular no and i found out that that was because the director had changed and so i was lucky to come during that moment and she’s still there and she’s amazing and thank you selene for that access still to this day dani marcela thank you thank you thank you um for that access because i heard that you know before her they didn’t and just to show how much it changed but the university archives they said no you and then luckily it changed and then i had access to it and unfortunately now it changed back so now i don’t but you know it’s about these flexibilities of working in latin america very much dependent on the director and and what he or she wants to allow access to it’s all it depends on what mood the bureaucracy is that’s you that’s that too that’s yes um so my colleague brooke newman um is asking in cases where women claimed indigenous dissent in order to marry and or avoid enslavement for both themselves and their current and future children did local authorities attempt to access documentation or witness accounts to prove these claims uh and correct me if i’m wrong brooke but it sounds like she’s asking um the type of evidence that was used in these court cases right and that’s a great question

and the answer is yes so um oftentimes they would talk about how they would go out and seek the baptismal records right because that i’m finding was the key to legally cementing and coming in quotations but to try to at least cement a permanent label is to go back to the baptismal records and so they would attempt to do so in some cases they could never be found in other cases they would find that yes indeed this person was actually of indigenous descent so yes there was constantly an attempt to do that and um another thing that i found that was very interesting is um it was also used by the children the male children uh by boy excuse me yeah boys that were now men and claiming that their mother were also indigenous right and in his case he actually could not prove it because he argued that he was taken along with his mother from the pompas and eventually you know they were christianized but where are the baptismal records you know that’s something that was mysteriously disappeared so there were attempts to get it at times yes it was proven but i would say most of the time it became very fickle about where exactly that information was but oh and just to add on brooke because that’s a really good question one of the ways that they would go about trying to prove it is saying where they were from like la toma which was a part of a predominantly indigenous area in cordoba or that they were a kesike or their somebody in their family was a kosike or they would talk about how they dressed in order to try and move that that conversation towards them being indigenous thank you um i think along those lines maya mentor is asking um if you could speak to or direct us to research that looks at the black male experience in the whitening of argentina i mean the most recent would be uh alex beruki’s from slate from shipmates to to soldiers he allows to at least discuss he gets more montevideo but he it’s within the rio de la plata would be one person um another person would be alejandro no no no alejandro figuerio de la fuente progerio um he’s the argentine based scholar anthropologist has also written about it um you also have martha goldberg who has written about it um but what i can do is actually suggest you read my article slavery in argentina where i list a bunch of of sources and the oxford bibliographies that they go into that more thank you um so one of our uh one of the best undergraduates that i’ve had david has a question and he says well that even though you talked about the legal process and the process of whitening what how were people treated i’m sorry what was the treatment like i yeah you you kind of went out for a second what was the question oh let me see so david asked how women were treated and what was that and what was their social level and living condition living conditions after the process of whiteness well at this i don’t really go beyond what happens once they become spanish but i could project that their lives definitely got better um now that they were permanently considered to be adonia uh you know the privileges in which that are granted to her for example just even how she could dress how she could present herself on the streets something that seems very small and maybe minute in terms of a detail but it’s very much about when you think about the presentation and the reputation and what khalid constantly is on display and constantly in action that’s very powerful when you cannot do that so something as small as that is very important um the fact that you know and once they get married they have those protections in terms of inheritance as well um so again i don’t go beyond what happens after they become um spanish but i i would project that their lives is definitely better great

thank you um so daniel morales is curious about the fluidity of race and class uh was there was this a broader trend or was it more of a particular circumstance on the periphery of empire no i think that this is very indicative of what is happening throughout the spanish empire i was able just to find how this flexibility in this process of ama mulatto or mulatta no amazonba all this going back you know at times of donya um actually had has real consequences towards us understanding why argentina is uh considered to be a very white nation today so that to me is is i guess the part that i think really um highlights how this flexibility could lead to something bigger and that’s not saying that it didn’t happen elsewhere but argentina does pride itself in being very much a white a white nation let’s see any final questions i i’m going to give myself the final question in that we have a lot of undergrads and graduate students that are mostly focused in the history of african american history um so are there are there any parallels um in your research with the literature in in u.s african-american history hmm um so i’m not that familiar with the literature and african american history especially for my time frame but i can project that as black women of the diaspora um i think one of the things that i find very exciting about this project is that it shows that despite the levels of discrimination and prejudice prejudices that existed it’s not going to stop a black woman from moving forward and i think that you know goes beyond borders and time and continues to be pretty much very much our story whether you are within the united states or you are in argentina or brazil or colombia that to me is very important and and also the strength that it takes for them to constantly put family as a focal point and i i didn’t go into this but one of the things that was so powerful with when i was reading some of these manumission um manumissions that were granted is that i kept finding pregnant black women african descended women that had already paid for paid 25 pesos for freeing their unborn child and that to me is is something else i think that is very matriarchal about being a black woman especially 18 19th century and i think continues that conversation today our importance and our willingness to do what we need to do for ourselves and especially for our children thank you and on on that powerful note um i am going to end this year’s career lecture and i want to thank once again erica edwards for joining us um and thank you again for that remarkable talk and and great insight into not only a research process but a research but research that’s very much needed thank you so much and thank you again for this this opportunity vcu the history department and of course rocio for the invitation thank you so much