Caetana was Brazilian, the daughter of African parents who possibly arrived in Brazil between 1810 and 1820. She lived with relatives on the Rio Claro farm, a large coffee plantation with hundreds of enslaved people. In 1835, at the age of seventeen and working as a housemaid, she was forced to marry Custodio, a tailor. Both were part of an “elite of enslaved people,” as their occupations gave them access to the big house. However, she decided to resist the masters’ command to live a marital life and filed a lawsuit asking for the marriage’s annulment. Caetana said no!