Who was
Luiz Gama?

Lawyer, jurist, poet, journalist, Luiz Gonzaga Pinto da Gama became a symbol of the abolitionist movement and the fight against slavery in Brazil. Born in Salvador, Bahia, in 1830, he was responsible for the freeing of more than five hundred enslaved people.

Son of Luiza Mahin, a black African woman from the Costa da Mina region who fought for the freedom of the enslaved in Bahia in the 1830s, and of a white man heir to a rich family of Portuguese ascendancy - whose name is still unknown to this day - Gama was sold into slavery by his own father. He spent his childhood, adolescence and early youth in captivity until he obtained proof of his freedom at the age of 18.

He worked in the military and police fields, published the poetic work Primeiras trovas burlescas under the pseudonym Getulino, in 1859, and founded several newspapers, among them Diabo Coxo, O Cabrião, Democracia and Radical Paulistano. In 1869, he obtained a licence to practise law. From then until the end of his life, he could legally represent several causes in court, among them the thousands of black and pardo men, women and children, illegitimately and illegally enslaved. More than a law office, his workplace was an office of freedom.

Luiz Gama did not live to see his dream of a Brazil without slaves fulfilled. He died in 1882, just six years before the abolition of slavery in 1888. Gama is an intellectual who read Brazil and wrote for the future.

What is the project?

With more than eighty percent of unpublished texts, the complete works of Luiz Gama will be published by December 2022, in eleven volumes. In total, they contain 750 texts attributed to the author and his pseudonyms, in the genres of poetry, satire, chronicles, writings on political intervention, legal literature and, principally, his abolitionist texts.

The material reveals how Luiz Gama acted in politics, in the press and in the courts of the slaveholding province of São Paulo. Besides being carefully transcribed from the newspapers of the time, all the texts also contain comments and contextualizations, in addition to approximately seven thousand notes, a glossary and indices.