Sunday May 01, 2016

Why the confederate flag flies in Brazil

Descendants of American Southerners dance at 'Festa Confederada" in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, Brazil.

Descendants of American Southerners dance at 'Festa Confederada" in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, Brazil. (The Associated Press)

Listen 10:39

There are hot dogs and hamburgers, biscuits and beer, fried chicken and ice cream. It's sunny and warm and perfect for a party. There's music and dancing and kids playing everywhere you look. If you think this sounds like a Memorial Day celebration, you're not far off. It is in recognition of American ancestors and the setting is, in fact, in the South – very far south, in Brazil.


Every spring, the small community of Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, about a two hour drive from São Paulo, gather for "Festa Confederada," a day-long event to remember their ancestors who fled the Confederate south after the end of the American Civil War.

The Lost Colony, as some have called it, is not without attention or controversy, due in part to the liberal use of the confederate flag, a prop that has become even more problematic than it already was in the wake of Dylann Roof's murderous rampage.

Documentary filmmaker Godfrey Cheshire is working on a new project about the community and its complicated relationship with the flag and its past. He tells to Day 6 host Brent Bambury the town's use of the rebel battle flag carries a different meaning in Brazil.

We also hear from Dionne Ford, a descendant of an enslaved woman and the man who enslaved her as well as Marcelo Dodson, the President of the Fraternity of American Descendants in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste.

Photos in the video are courtesy Godfrey Cheshire, from his visit this past April.

Festa Confederdados in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste, Brazil2:06