The Tale of Those Who Left

In southern Brazil, there still exists remnants of the American Confederacy. Each April, the Descendants of American Southerners don hoop skirts and the grey uniform to celebrate their shared history. Thousands of Southerners migrated to Central and South America after finding themselves on the losing side of the war and their relatives are called Confederados. (Photo by Paulo Whitaker/Reuters, 2015)

This seems worth mentioning:

Every April, the Fraternidade Descendencia Americana gather in the south of Brazil to celebrate a strange and incongruous shared history. “Stonewall Jackson’s Way” is piped out of speakers, chicken is fried, and girls in hoop skirts dance to old Dixie tunes. Men in Rebel-gray uniforms with yellow trim browse dozens of stands of Confederate memorabilia. The Confederados, as they’re known, are the descendants of Americans who fled after losing the Civil War. Now, 150 years later and 5,000 miles away, they continue to gather under the banner of the Stars and Bars to pay homage to their ancestry.

The setting for this festival is Santa Barbara d’Oeste, which abuts a 200,000-person municipality called Americana. It’s there that a long-forgotten enclave of Confederate descendants rebuilt their lives in the years after the War between the States. At a time when the Confederate flag has sparked tension and protests anew across the United States, this small community in South America still celebrates its controversial history with a fervor.


In truth, the old proposition, “America! Love it or leave it!” has always rung a bit hollow. And there was the time the immigrant from the poor house came to America, became one of the most successful people on the planet and even achieving the number two highest-paid slot in the nation behind the head of U.S. Steel, but we kicked him out of the country, ostensibly for Mann Act violations, but largely because he was a leftist. Never mind; bittersweet irony for leftists. But, it’s true, given the introduction most of us get, few would ever know Charlie Chaplin was actually that important.

A woman stands in a Confederate flag dress in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Paulo Whitaker/Reuters, 2015)More recently, we’ve been hearing from conservatives who kept threatening to leave the country if―not unless, but if―they got health insurance reform, or if gays could marry, or if the black dude won another term in the White House. That kind of talk, needless to say, is very amusing. Patriots fleeing America because things are getting better.

But then there is this, a relic of history, an artifact of shame, a heritage of disgrace.

To the other, at least they had the courage to make good.

No, really. Regardless of how we feel of the “love it or leave it” proposition, here we have a continuous heritage handed down from folks who actually up and left because, you know, a person just isn’t free if he can’t own another person.

And these were the ones who actually decided to up and leave.


Strohlic, Nina. “The Good Ol’ Boys of Brazil”. The Daily Beast. 12 August 2015.

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