Society

Olinda, in Northeast Brazil, bans naming landmarks after slave owners and dictators

The city, known for its traditional Carnival parties, became the first in Brazil to pass legislation forbidding streets and public buildings from honoring contentious figures from the past

Olinda, in Northeast Brazil, bans naming landmarks after slave owners and dictators
Street in Olinda. Photo: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

In recent years, a wave of social justice protest has spanned the globe. In many cases, demonstrators sought to deface, topple, or simply destroy monuments dedicated to historical figures such as slave traders, Christopher Columbus, or dictators – which has in turned fueled a debate about how societies should deal with historical memory. 

Lawmakers in Olinda, a city in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, opted for a different approach: in February they passed a law forbidding streets and public buildings from being named after slave owners and figureheads from the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985.

The bill...

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