Book ‘The women who were there’ highlights female strength in Independence – Culture

Heloisa Starling and Antonia Pellegrino launched the book “Independence of Brazil: The women who were there”
(photo: Stella Ribeiro/Disclosure)

It was at the end of the 1990s. At the time, attorney for the State of Minas Gerais, the Minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Crmen Lcia spoke about Hiplita, a woman who had political participation in the Conjurao Mineira (1789). It was the first time Heloisa Starling had heard of her. And that bothered her. “How did she, from the field of law, know this before a historian?”

In later years, Hiplita Jacinta Teixeira de Melo would reappear, albeit discreetly, in readings of Heloisa through research by other authors. “I started to realize that she had fallen out of the way about women, which was too big. I started researching it”, says Heloisa.

A member of the colonial elite at the time, Hiplita was married to Francisco de Oliveira Lopes. Both became involved with the Inconfidência – she even wrote three messages to the movement’s leaders.

Seven protagonists of history

Alongside Brbara de Alencar, Urnia Vanrio, Maria Felipa de Oliveira, Maria Quitria de Jesus, Maria Leopoldina from Austria and Ana Lins, the woman from Minas was part of the group that participated in the struggles for independence in Brazil since the end of the 18th century. entered history, if at all, through the back door.

These seven women have their trajectories recovered by another seven, among historians, journalists and writers, in the book “Independência do Brasil – As Mulheres que somos L” (Bazar do Tempo).

Organized by Heloisa and Antonia Pellegrino, the book brings together the profiles of the characters. The launch will be this Saturday (3/9), from 11 am, at Rua Fernandes Tourinho, in Savassi, in the block in front of the Jenipapo and Quixote bookstores, partners in the event.

In addition to Heloisa, three co-authors will participate in the launch: Cidinha da Silva, who wrote about Maria Felipa de Oliveira, a black fisherwoman who worked to protect against attacks by Portuguese boats in Bahia; Marcela Telles, who focused on the trajectory of Maria Quitria de Jesus, who fought on the Bahian front in the War of Independence, disguised as “men’s fashion”; and Virginia Starling, who took a new look at D. Leopoldina, the first wife of D. Pedro I, showing how she articulated her husband’s stay in Brazil, against what Portugal wanted.

Mobilization in the STF

The profiles of these characters appear in a book after the research that involved other initiatives. On September 7, 2020, Heloisa participated in the podcast “Novo normal”, created by Antonia Pellegrino, talking about women in Independence. At the end of 2021, there was a new invitation, now from the three STF ministers – Crmen Lcia, Rosa Weber and Ellen Gracie, to participate in the seminar “For these and for others”, on International Human Rights Day.

Among the women that Heloisa highlighted in her speech at the STF was a 10-year-old girl. She wrote, in verse, the pamphlet “Lamentos de uma baiana”, which was published in Salvador, in February 1822, denouncing the tyranny and oppression of the Portuguese Crown. “We know nothing about her, not even her name. A profound silence weighs heavily on the author,” said the historian at the seminar in December last year.

It was Urnia Vanrio (in the book, her profile was in charge of Patrcia Valim) the girl from Salvador. And her name was only discovered after the research that Heloisa and her team did for the podcast “Mulheres na Independencia”, which she presents with Antonia Pellegrino. When they were conceiving the project, launched on Globoplay in August, there was an invitation from the editor Ana Cecilia Impellizieri, from Bazar do Tempo, for the book.

“It is interesting that the project, which deals with the repression that women suffered through oblivion, unfolds itself in various supports”, says Heloisa Starling, remembering the presence of some of these characters in the exhibition “Itineraries of Independence”. The museum path, an initiative of the Republica Project, which Heloisa coordinates at UFMG, passed through several places.

In July, he was taken to Prados, in Campo das Vertentes, where Hiplita was born. In addition to Heloisa, Antonio Pellegrino, Crmen Lcia (who signs the postscript of “As Mulheres que somos l”) and the singer Zlia Duncan, who composed a song about Hiplita (“Inslita sua Courage/ from the margin of the yesterday’s story / to the center of freedom”).

The imagination of the possible

Author of dozens of books and with an extensive work that excels in the dialogue between history and politics, Heloisa admits that Hiplita’s profile was a challenge. “It’s one thing to talk about Conjurao Mineira, it’s another to look for a character about whom there is no source. The fictionist solves this in another way. As a historian, I could not invent it.”

Thus, for the text, she worked with the resource of “imagination of the possible”. “That’s a lot of work, because you have to reconstruct a lot of episodes from one detail,” she explains. Heloisa exemplifies telling that, when reading the biography of Toms Antnio Gonzaga, she discovered that Hiplita’s husband was part of the Minas Cavalry Regiment, the same for which Tiradentes had enlisted in 1775.

“Each of us found a way to get close to the characters”, concludes Heloisa Starling.

(photo: Bazaar do Tempo/Reproduction)


• Organization: Heloisa M. Starling and Antonia Pellegrino

• Weather Bazaar

• 224 pages

• BRL 62.90

• Launch this Saturday (3/9), in partnership between Quixote and Jenipapo bookstores, starting at 11 am, at Rua Fernandes Tourinho, 241, Savassi. Presence of the authors Heloisa Starling, Cidinha da Silva, Marcela Telles and Virginia Starling

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Book women highlights female strength Independence Culture

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