July 24, 1908
February 19, 1974
Together with Abdias do Nascimento, the poet and playwright Solano Trindade stands out as one of the most influential black Brazilian activists and intellectuals of the twentieth century. A native of Recife, Pernambuco, Francisco Solano Trindade migrated to Rio de Janeiro, where he would stand apart with other important black intellectuals in the rich cultural and political environment of the time. Before leaving Pernambuco, he participated in the formation of the Frente Negra Pernambucana (Pernambuco Black Front) in 1936. In 1937, with Vicente Lima and others, he established the Afro-Brazilian Cultural Center in Recife, which offered seminars, artistic productions, child education projects, women's support groups, and medical and dental assistance. The center also supported important publications, such as Xangô, a book by Vicente Lima. In 1934 and 1937 Trindade participated in the first and second Afro-Brazilian Congresses, held in Recife and in Salvador. Also during this time he traveled to Belo Horizonte and later to Pelotas, where he founded popular art groups.
Trindade settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1942. There was a vibrant debate over the racial question in Brazil, linking intellectuals, activists, and diverse political sectors. Trindade had—together with others—an important role in this political atmosphere. His close affiliations with the Communist Party and communist intellectuals, along with his poems of strong social critique, immediately made him a standout activist, fundamentally denouncing racism and the living conditions of the Afro-Brazilian population. His poems had a strong impact during the period, and with the unfolding of events in the 1970s and 1980s, when left-leaning artists and intellectuals found themselves repressed by the military government, they inspired new generations of intellectuals and popular artists. In the 1940s he also worked in the founding of the Afro-Brazilian Democratic Committee in Rio de Janeiro, where black intellectuals of various political-ideological convictions came together as neighbors and friends—such people as Alberto Guerreiro Ramos, Raimundo de Souza Dantas, Edison Carneiro, Sebastião Rodrigues Alves, and Abdias do Nascimento.
In the 1950s, together with his wife Margarida and others, he created the Brazilian Popular Theater. His theater had important repercussions, attracting black artists and addressing themes from Afro-Brazilian music, dance, and culture. Later, he rooted himself in São Paulo, specifically in the city of Embú, developing a hub of Afro-Brazilian culture and traditions, a movement that still exists under the direction of his daughter, Raquel Trindade.
Beyond his political activity, Solano Trindade stands apart in his artistic work—poems, re-adaptations of folklore, and paintings. He continued working in the city of Duque de Caxias—where his name is still remembered by the poor and black communities—until his death at age sixty-five.
Barcelos, Luiz Claúdio. "Mobilização Racial no Brasil: Uma Revisão Crítica." Afro-Ásia 17 (1996): 187-212.
Leite, José Correia. E Disse o Velho Militante José Correia Leite: depoimentos e artigos/José Correia Leite, organização e textos Cuti. São Paulo: Secretaria Municipal de Cultura, 1992.
Nascimento, Abdias do. Genocídio do Negro Brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1978.
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flÁvio gomes (2005)
Translated by James H. Sweet