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The Dark Shadows of Coffee


Slaves at a coffee yard in a farm. Vale do Paraiba, Sao Paulo, 1882. / Marc Ferrez/Moreira Salles Institute Archive 

 

In America and at Cortez, all of us are immigrants who came from all ends of the earth for a better life for our families and us. Two exceptions exist: the Native people of the land, and the enslaved who were brought here in chains. Our society is built on their labor and their genocides.

Colonial imperialists enslaved Natives and Africans to profit from coffee production for many generations. Slavery and indentured servitude through coercion, and inhumane labor practices still exist today. Corruption along the coffee network that cares about profit margins, but neglects human life has deep roots. Today, this could be explained by the distribution of capital away from the workers and to the owners in the coffee industry, actively or passively.

To collectively acknowledge the flaws and injustices in our field is a step forward we can make to ensure a lifelong path towards social justice. We stand in solidarity with the workers and the people of the world, starting with the Black community in the United States of America in the struggle for justice, equality, and the protection of basic human rights. 

Books with in-depth knowledge on the history of coffee:

  • Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
  • Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
  • The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from Crop to the Last Drop

 

Recommended coffee industry professionals making a difference: