It is no secret to anyone the case of revocation of the Princess Isabel Order of Merit by the Ministry of Human Rights, which is seen by Dom João de Orleans e Bragança, the great-grandson of Princess Isabel, as “another revengeful primacy” of recent governments. The Order, created by former president Jair Bolsonaro in December of last year, has now been revoked by the Lula government, which has instituted the Luiz Gama Human Rights Prize in its place.
Luiz Gama was an important Brazilian abolitionist, lawyer, and writer of the 19th century. Born in 1830, likely in the city of Salvador, Bahia, Luiz Gonzaga Pinto da Gama, popularly known as Luiz Gama, had a life marked by tireless advocacy for freedom and the rights of Afro-Brazilians. Gama became known for his work as a lawyer, defending enslaved individuals seeking their freedom through legal processes. It is estimated that he liberated over 500 slaves throughout his career, employing innovative legal arguments to challenge the legality of slavery.
Dom João, better known as Dom Joãozinho, sees the measure as a political act, “based on the petty polarization” of present-day Brazil. He states that he does not consider the homage to Gama unjust, “quite the contrary.” In the opinion of Princess Isabel’s grandson, Luiz Gama was as important as his grandmother in the abolition of slavery in Brazil. “Without other abolitionist forces, nothing would have happened,” he asserts. João also mentions José do Patrocínio, Joaquim Nabuco, and André Rebouças as deserving of similar honors.
Prince Joãozinho demonstrates accuracy in praising the Luiz Gama Medal, while emphasizing that one should not defame Princess Isabel due to futile rivalry that only diminishes the significance and value of the abolitionist cause and abolitionist activists in Brazil.
Matheus is an entrepreneur at Araujo Media, where he serves as CEO and Creative Director. He shares analyses on his personal blog "matheusaraujo.me" and is currently pursuing a degree in Advertising and Propaganda. Moreover, he has a passion for history, particularly that of Brazil, which led him to become the founder and editor of the Brazilian History portal.