Brazil’s Secret History of Southern Hospitality
After the American Civil War, some 7,000 Confederates set sail for Brazil. Their Dixie-loving descendants are one of the world's most unique micro-cultures.
Photo of Elizabeth MacKnight in Americana, Brazil, 1979, by Stephen G. Bloom
I pressed the buzzer to the gate on the crest of a steep hill and waited, not knowing who or what to expect. I hadn’t written or called, and didn’t really expect to find anyone home. Within seconds, though, a dapper white-haired man with black metal-frame glasses came walking down the yard's path in a chipper sort of way. He looked like Colonel Sanders’s twin, but without the goatee and moustache.
After I fumbled something in Portuguese about my being an American and that I had come to write a story but wasn't sure that this was the right place, the man flashed a great big smile.
“Well, yaw cum raht in,” he chirped excitedly. “I’ll git mah whife, and we’ll set us down and have us a rail nahce vis-i-ta-shun.”
Six months earlier, I had moved to Brazil to work as a fledgling editor for an English-language newspaper in São Paulo, a sort of International Herald Tribune for Latin America. One Saturday morning …
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