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Martine de Souza, Descendant of Slave Trader


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Martine de Souza, Descendent of Slave Trader (length: 1 min 45 sec)
At the de Souza family compound in Ouidah, Republic of Benin, Gates talks with Martine de Souza. Martine is a descendent of Francisco de Souza, the infamous 19th century Brazilian slave trader and Viceroy of Ouidah. Here, she explains her regrets about the slave trade and the effect of having such an infamous name. Read Transcript

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Video Transcript

MARTINE: Yeah, yeah. But he was very important in the slave trade. I am not proud of him because you know the slave trade was terrible and that stands from, out from Africa a lot of descendents, you know. So it's evil business, I don't like it at all. I wish I was descendents from slaves. That's a bit, that would make me feel better. And you know, I always feel guilty when I meet, you know, African-Americans and you know, because my position is delicate, you know. I am part of the history and at the same time I will be telling this story, the history, you know, it makes me all the time feel bad, yeah.

GATES: And many African-Americans would rather have been

MARTINE: Yes

GATES: kept here rather than taking

MARTINE: Mm. And sometimes I don't tell everybody that I'm descendent of, you know, De Souza. I'll tell them that I am (Govedin), not to De Souza.

GATES: Do they get angry? Do they get angry?

MARTINE: Yes, some of them. And you know, how, if you were at my place how would you feel, you know, when you tell this story to somebody who will start crying and they know from, you know, inside of me that I'm part of the history. It's very sad.

GATES: But it's not your fault.

MARTINE: It's not my fault, but that's how it is.

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