port of harlem magazine
port of harlem gambian education partnership
Benedita da Silva

Aug 10 – Aug 23, 2023
Praising the Past

The Honoree

At the age of 40, Benedita da Silva received her high-school diploma and attended college at the same time as her then 20-year-old daughter. In 1994, voters elected her to the Senate, becoming the first female senator in Brazil. In 2002, Vice Governor da Silva assumed the governorship of the State of Rio de Janeiro to become the first woman and the first Black to occupy the office.


As of 2007, the Brazilian Metropolitan Area with the largest percentage of people reported as Black was Salvador, Bahia. The 2010 census showed African-Brazilians as being the majority for the first time in the entire South American country. The results revealed that 97 million Brazilians, or 50.7% of the population, defined themselves as Black or mixed race, compared with 91 million or 47.7% who label themselves White.  The 2020 Census resulted with about 120 million people—identifying as African -Brazilian.

The country is home to the largest Black population in the Americas and second to Nigeria on planet Earth. The United States only reports 46.9 million who define themselves as Black or mixed race, resulting in Brazil having 50.1 million more Blacks than the United States.

brazil on a map

The Artist's Creative Explanation

“I chose to combine a mixed media format, using graphite pencil, watercolor, and acrylic paint on an archival bond paper. I find this to be an excellent material combination for drawing and painting and where the materials complement each other. This is all highlighted in an expressionistic style with the background done in minimal color field to counter the energetic line work of the portrait, all brought together by my love for an intense color palette, which in this case, coincidentally mirror the Brazilian Flag.”

cedric baker

- Artist Cedric Baker

About "From These Shores"

From These Shores celebrates the accomplishments of 18 known and lesser-known Africans in the diaspora across time and geography. The 12 panels hang at the Juffureh Slavery Museum, The Gambia and online. Timbooktoo Bookstore in New Bakau, The Gambia and Mansa Musa Restaurant in Takoma Park, MD USA each display one of the panels.
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