24hoursworld

Who was Epitácio Pessoa, the racist president of Brazil who banned blacks from playing in the National Team

Who was Epitácio Pessoa, the racist president of Brazil who banned blacks from playing in the National Team
Who was Epitácio Pessoa, the racist president of Brazil who banned blacks from playing in the National Team

A new edition of the America Cup and with it come thousands of stories to highlight. The centenary competition has beautiful, bright, striking anecdotes, and others that are rather overwhelming.

Not long ago, just over 100 years ago, racism was a state policy in some countries of the world. With a large part of the population mulatto, in 1919 there was a president in South America who was so racist that he went so far as to prohibit Afro-descendant players from wearing the shirt of his national team.

Epitácio Pessoa He was the 11th president of Brazil. Born in 1865 in Umbuzeiro, he presided over the country of Rio between 1919 and 1922. With a high racist component, at a time when discrimination based on skin color was not socially rejected, the Brazilian president made the most absurd decisions.

Epitácio Pessoa’s recommendation that there be no blacks in the Brazil National Team

As the story goes, the President of Brazil at that time he was ashamed to show the world that his nation was a country with a large part of the population of African descent. It was for this reason that Pessoa, as if trying to hide something unconcealable, “recommended” that black soccer players be able to play on the Brazilian soccer team.

Being Brazil champion of the 1919 Copa Américawith a goal from a black player who emerged as the tournament’s top scorer, the Rio team tried to win the title in its next two editions: Chile 1920 and Argentina 1921. However, the Brazilian team could not achieve its goal, leaving aside the best footballer of the country, relegated for being mulatto only.

Arthur Friedenreich, the Brazilian star who was the exception

That footballer who scored the goal in the 1919 final that gave Brazil the title was called Arthur Friedenreich. The striker who would have had more goals than Pele is one of the protagonists of this story, having been expelled from the Brazilian national team for two years at the whim of a president.

However, the Afro-descendant player was undoubtedly the best of the time. According to what they say, to hide something that was visible to everyone (his skin color), Arthur passed rice powder on his body so he could continue doing what he liked: goals.

image.png

By 1922 the South American international competition returned to Brazil. Having lost the other two editions, an express request was made to the President of the Brazilian nation to allow at least one black player to play, who was the best soccer player of the time. Reluctantly, but with the hope that Brazil would keep the Copa América, Pessoa pardoned Friedenreich so that he could compete in said competition.

Brazil, after three years, managed to win a title that had Arthur in a secondary role since he could not play more than one game due to an injury.

Source: Ambito

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts