As sugar became more profitable in Brazil in the 1600s, the need for labor increased. Of course racists weren’t seeking to pay wages – they wanted slave labor. Zumba and his family members were forced into a life of servitude, but they didn’t stay that way.
He and his family escaped to a settlement with others who’d freed themselves from heinous plantation life. Zumba was a great warrior and leader, and soon he was leading the settlement. But he wasn’t content with his freedom alone.
He went back to plantations and freed more of his people! Under Zumba’s leadership, they built a strong, thriving community. When racists attacked them with the goal of re-enslaving them, his people of course resisted. Zumba eventually lost his life fighting to protect the freedom of his community.
Zumba is still a symbol of Black freedom today. Not only did he liberate himself and our people, but he built a strong vibrant space where all our people could succeed. We must realize when we work together and support each other, we can build communities that stand the test of time!