Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Assistance to Poor Brazilian Children in Zebu City: Colonization or Emancipation?
Alberto Assis Souza, Marilsa Aparecida, Laterza Ribeiro, Betania de Oliveira, Elizabeth Farias da Silva

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


This paper integrates an ongoing survey on History of Education that investigates the poor childhood in the city of Uberaba, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. With the stagnation of its commercial activities from 1911, the city started to invest on agribusiness with special focus on zebu cattle breeding imported directly from India. Although an extremely profitable activity, the emerging agrarian elite did not contribute for the development process of the city; quite conversely it kept the unemployment, the illiteracy and the poverty of the population. The circulation of poor people – children, ex-slaves and beggars – on public roads disturbed the local elites because it gave a “desolate look” to the city, which seemed to “deny the abundance and comfort of the city”, as widespread by local press. For this reason, authorities, philanthropists and the elite in general were concerned to find mechanisms to enable the maintenance of public order, creating for this, institutions that could remove these unwanted people from the streets, leaving a more sanitized aspect of the city consistent with the progressive republican speech. In face to such context, the study described here aimed at investigating the first care institutions for children and young people created from that time in which Uberaba began to strive more actively to agribusiness activities and, consequently, committed to forge an orderly and disciplined image of the city to its visitors. Through bibliographic and documentary research which was based on sources such as newspaper, presidential messages and documents available in the Public Archive of Uberaba, a dialogue was established between local reality with temporalities and wider spaces. The analysis done so far indicates that the first welfare institutions established after 1911, which is, the Borges Sampaio Agricultural Learning (1914), Santo Antonio Almshouse (1915), Anália Franco Home (1919) and Santo Eduardo Orphanage (1920) contributed to the disciplinary process of the city, once they allowed to remove poor children and young people from the streets, offering shelter, basic education and, in the case of Borges Sampaio, preparation to work. The creation of these institutions was based on a utilitarian ethics was set out to restore a disciplined, standardized and sanitized young man to society.  The investment in welfare, and not in policies to allow everyone access to education, indicated a concern with the domestication of the actors involved. It is noted, therefore, that the creation of these institutions started from a colonialist perspective, since the main purpose was to establish, organize and discipline the existing relations between poor children and the local elite. However, contradictorily, such actions foreshadowed an incipient process of emancipation of these subjects, since they offered these children access to education, even when restricted to elementary education.