Birth of Freedom in Brazil—Tiradentes

Co-authored with Susanna Melo.

Tiradentes is another colonial jewel in Minas Gerais. It is a miniature version of Ouro Preto, with lush vegetation and large, flat-stoned streets. We arrived at the right time. A week earlier, floods had washed out some bridges on the way into town and had invaded the lower lying areas, including one historical church. The day we arrived was sunny and empty of tourists.

Tiradentes, “teeth puller,” was the nickname for Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (1746-1792), the town’s dentist, who was hung for betraying the Portuguese imperial government and for leading the revolution for Brazil’s independence.

In the photo with the landscape, you will notice a bust of Tiradentes in the lower right corner. You will also see a chapel-like structure, which is called a Passo. Passos can be found in colonial-era towns. Each of 12 passos has a scene of the different stages of the cross leading up to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Passos are opened for religious celebrations, particularly around Easter.

Copyright Susanna Melo, 2012


Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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