Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-5zjcf Total loading time: 0.256 Render date: 2022-08-12T16:27:03.319Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Chapter 6 - Deaths (1930–1955)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 January 2022

Paulina L. Alberto
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Get access

Summary

Raúl’s decline and disappearance constitute the sadistic climax of the posthumous stories. Storytellers linger with relish over their accounts of his descent, after 1930, into poverty, illness, homelessness, alcoholism, police detention, and finally madness, institutionalization, and death. So enthusiastic are they about ushering Raúl to his end that they begin to declare him dying or dead decades before his actual demise in 1955. His death was permanently useful to tell and retell as part of a tragicomedy about the foolishness of persisting in being a Black person in a country that had outgrown them (or, in its great wisdom, had arranged never to have any). In this sense, storytellers merely conscripted Raúl into the broader narratives of always-impending (but never quite complete) Black disappearance that had circulated since his grandparents’ day. “Deaths” shows how the defamatory stories about Raúl’s decline and death, circulating since the 1930s in the press and popular culture, sped him to the sad ends storytellers envisioned for him. Between 1930 and 1955, Raúl’s trajectory as revealed by the archival record converges, in many important details, with the denigrating tales that took shape around him. But this chapter tells that story very differently. In part, Raúl’s difficulties in these years had to do with extensive transformations in Argentine society – economic depression, a military coup, intensified police repression, and the renewed vigor of eugenics and scientific racism. In part, too, his struggles reflected the fact that the journalists, photographers, police officers, physicians and psychologists who encountered Raúl during the last decades of his life were themselves informed by preexisting narratives about class, citizenship, and Blackness in Argentina. Using press coverage of Raúl, photographs, his police record, and his medical records from a hospital and two psychiatric institutions, I reconstruct these last decades of his life and demonstrate how they were deformed at every turn by narratives of Afro-Argentine death that were only strengthened, in storytellers’ eyes, by what they saw as Raúl’s sorry state. Finally, building on highly suggestive clues in his psychiatric file, the chapter closes with an alternative, or rather intersecting, re-reading of his life through the lens of queerness and same-sex sexuality.

Type
Chapter
Information
Black Legend
The Many Lives of Raúl Grigera and the Power of Racial Storytelling in Argentina
, pp. 276 - 339
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×