Capela Nossa Senhora das Almas dos Aflitos
Located in Beco dos Aflitos, a side street of Rua dos Estudantes. One of the few alleys in São Paulo downtown. The chapel was built either in 1715 or 1750 – it is not known for sure – and it was a place where enslaved peoples’ bodies were for their memorials [velar, in Portuguese], of the native peoples and of those who were condemned to the gallows.
Because it was traditionally the place for these populations memorials, it receives until today a massive presence of black people in its operation.
This sacred construction is in the center of one of the first cemeteries in the city in which black people, native populations, and animals were buried.
Capela Nossa Senhora dos Aflitos is in deplorable conditions: its walls are cracked, and the small building is tightly surrounded by huge buildings, shops, and oriental restaurants. There is, recently, a great movement of intellectuals and religious people, mainly associated with Unamca (União dos Amigos Capela dos Aflitos), with the creation of Aflitos’ memorial and with the historical and material preservation of one of São Paulo’s oldest patrimonies.
Pay a visit to Capela dos Aflitos and get to know more about the black history in Liberdade.
*Updated text, the original one is published in Caderno de Campo do Coletivo Cartografia Negra.