Black Orpheus

From: Elizabeth Bishop – A Miracle for Breakfast (2017), by Megan Marshall:

“Now in Brazil, Elizabeth lived among the wealthy, but as an outsider, a dependent whose trust fund met only basic expenses, and she sometimes chose as subjects people and situations that must have seemed commonplace to Lota, her benefactor and mate…

…It is the new world of 1955…Would Brazil act to secure the natural rights of its dispossessed children too?

Cold War politics had played into the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision: how could the United States present itself as an exemplary democracy if it denied racial minorities equal treatment?

Elizabeth may have heard such accusations in dinner party conversation at Samambaia or in Rio as the landmark case worked its way to the Supreme Court from 1951 to 1953, and might have wished to turn them back on her host country. She published “Squatter’s Children” first (in English) in the progressive Brazilian monthly Anhembi, where it followed the serialisation of Vinicius de Moraes’s “verse tragedy” of favela life, Orfeu da Conceicao, from which the movie Black Orpheus was later derived.“

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