Discover the important work of this organization which for 190 years has been dedicated to supporting the black community in Salvador
Institution was fundamental for the survival of many blacks in the post-abolition period
The first black civil organization in Brazil, founded on September 16, 1832, the “Sociedade Protetora dos Desvalidos” (SPD) (Society for the Protection of the Underprivileged), at the time called the “Irmandade de Nossa Senhora da Soledade Amparo dos Desvalidos”, was created with the aim of creating a joint for the manumission of enslaved blacks and to provide assistance to members and their families.
The headquarters has been installed in a building in Largo Cruzeiro de São Francisco, in Salvador, since 1887. There, visitors can have access to books, minutes, portraits and other records from the time of slavery. The organization is currently active in social causes.
With the motto “Fraternity and Charity”, the SPD emerged to help the black population during slavery, but also acted after abolition, trying to help with disease and hunger. The Society was founded by the African Manoel Victor Serra, who met with other black men, including carpenters, cart drivers, water carriers and gain workers, to hold an assembly in the Capela dos Quinze Mistérios, in Santo Antônio Além do Carmo.
The Sociedade Protetora dos Desvalidos stood out among the black brotherhoods in the city of Salvador, for sheltering black adherents to religions other than Catholicism. On May 13, 1888, Princess Isabel de Bragança signed the “Lei Áurea”, which ended slavery in Brazil. At that time, SPD also began to provide social security to its elderly or infirm members, as Brazil did not have government programs that provided this type of assistance.
When associates became ill, unemployed or even when family members died, the entity was there to provide support. The place was also a space for coexistence between free black workers, but after the government instituted public policies, the Society lost a good number of associated members. The SPD managed to stay alive on account of real estate investments.
Today, the Society has 170 active members and survives with income from real estate, some of which were inherited from former members. Despite no longer being a vital body, the Society still helps the black community and, at its headquarters, holds seminars, conferences and professional courses. The target audience is always black people from underprivileged communities.
The SPD has a support house for African and quilombola students, located at Ladeira do Pepino, 65, in Engenho Velho de Brotas, and a support space for black entrepreneurs at Largo do São Francisco, 19, in Pelourinho. In addition, the Society has a partnership with “Rota dos Quilombos”, an action that allows getting to know the quilombola communities of Bahia and other states, to strengthen the bonds and ideals of brotherhood. In these quilombos, courses and fairs are promoted.
For more than three years, SPD has held a weekly therapeutic conversation circle, coordinated by black psychologists, aimed at black women in psychological distress. The Society also donates food parcels to families in the ghettos and quilombola communities. For more information on how to participate, contact us on social media or by phone.
Sociedade Protetora dos Desvalidos (Society for the Protection of the Underprivileged)
Address: Largo do Cruzeiro de São Francisco, 017 – Centro, Salvador – BA, 40026-010
Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 9am to 6pm
Phone: (71) 3322-6913