Was Nina Rodrigues really a "mulatto"?

Raimundo Nina Rodrigues

Thomas Skidmore wrote that Nina Rodrigues was a mulatto in Black into White (1974). And Edward Telles repeated the allegation of Nina's mixed-race background in Race in Another America (2004), citing Skidmore. Could it be that, after a thousand repetitions, it will become an accepted historical fact? Skidmore may have based his statement on documented evidence, and portraits like the one above can (and have been) "whitened," but it might also turn out that Jorge Amado was the Exú who transformed this proponent of whitening/eugenics into a mulatto through his novel Tent of Miracles. The character Nilo Argolo (inspired by Nina Rodrigues) spends a great deal of energy hiding the "skeleton in his closet" - his African ancestry.

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