On July 9, 1932, at 37 Sergipe Street, in the city of São Paulo, the main coordinators of the armed uprising against the Provisional Government of Getúlio Vargas assembled. For the sake of a new Constitution, militaries and civilians joined forces during 87 days of battle. Distinguished by its strong popular support, the Constitutionalist Revolution of 32 could not be possible without the women's collaboration.
More than 70 thousand women worked as volunteers only at sewing workshops; by the last day of September, they had produced 450 thousand uniforms. Day and night, the Red Cross promoted quick nursing courses to supply the demand of hospitals, emergency stations and the frontlines.
Women from all social classes organized themselves in work rooms to prepare medical supplies. The Catholic Ladies League clothed, fed and sheltered more than 100 thousand people; they served 180 thousand meals, made 80 thousand uniforms and 60 thousand compresses and bandages.
The Soldier's House, in the capital's neighborhoods and in almost every city from the countryside, received and attended soldiers and their family members, offering food, clothing and medical treatment. Besides the assistance groups dedicated to the soldiers' families, the women also took charge of the Gold Campaign and the manufacture of steel helmets to the soldiers. At the front of the civil war, Maria Sguassábia, the woman-soldier, fought courageously side by side with the men.
“The women from São Paulo have entered the scene[…] All classes, all professions united with the same enthusiasm for sacrifice and dedication, from the modest worker to the group of fashion stars, from the housemaid to the debutants.
Epidermises that had never felt the heat of a stove improvised themselves as battalion's cooks and suffered for long hours without muttering the martyrdom of the wet green wood, whose smoke made them cry; easily scared flappers, filled with touch-me-nots and pampers, capable of fainting at the touch of a cockroach or at the sight of a mouse, did an eight-day nursing course to cover hospitals, and there — sometimes under air raid — helped during the most terrible surgeries; hands that barely knew the existence of a needle and a thimble started to not know another thing in life, bended day and night over the soldiers' uniforms. All of them work; all of them help; all of them apply; all of them give; all of them create; all of them organize. Thanks to this bee work, nothing is lacking and everything is in abundance. The rations are exceeding. Every soldier gets, besides his daily ration, a can with another one that is excellent. It is cold in the mountains and at the trenches; hundreds of crocheted coats and wool blankets, turn up. It is necessary to help the soldiers' wives and children. Instantly, institutions are created to shelter them from their needs and discomfort. There is a remarkable emulation to do more, to help more, to sacrifice more for the dear land. All the superfluous interests are gone, and all of São Paulo glitters with the splendor of a superhuman heroism.”
Baptista Pereira, constitutionalist from Rio Grande do Sul.
One of the volunteers at the Soldier's House was Marina Freire Junqueira Franco.
“[...] So, my sister, how are our brave brothers doing? Always winners, right? May all God's blessings and our humble prayers reach them.
Have you helped a lot? You're dignifying and honoring the women from São Paulo by working, cheering and comforting our heroes.
At the 'league' we also work day and night; everything to our soldiers who, with so much heroism, fight for the liberty, the right, the honor, everything for the benefit of our Brazil.
The blood of the 'bandeirantes'* runs alive and sizzling through the veins of our brothers[...] who deserve all our love of caring sisters, don´t you agree?
If it is God’s will, we shall win, and the glorious day is approaching[…]”
Letter from friend Maria do Rosário to Marina, 07/29/32.
* São Paulo was the home base for the most famous bandeirantes, leaders of expeditions called bandeiras (Portuguese for “flags”) that, much like the american pioneers, penetrated the interior of the country in search of riches, expanding the borders.
“[...] The work here is brutal, grueling![…] What helps us is the satisfaction of contributing to our dear country and our soldiers that are living even harder lives.
Fortunately, we have beds to sleep on and a roof above our heads, and the poor men, most of the time, sleep outside[…] I shower at a family's house, since we don´t have a shower at the farm.
The lack of comfort is absolute, complete. The food tastes great to the soldiers: rice, beans and meat with potatoes, all very well seasoned.
For us, however, who are dealing with cauldrons and cauldrons, it is repulsive, so much so that I can only eat cookies and milk[…] Please do not mind the dirty paper.
Here we don't mind about the dirt, we are often filthy, like true cooks, in a way that the good tone[...] is to walk around dirty. People who are clean are not sought after, it's a sign that they haven't been at the frontlines[…]”
Letter from Marina, 07/29/32.
[JX1]Estado com maiúscula no original = país, nação
[JX2]Não existe no original
[JX3]Bathe = na banheira
“[...] the rich deliver their gold, with British discretion and Roman bravery; the ladies deprive themselves of their jewels; the bishops deliver the gold from the churches and their own crosses from their chests; the poor couples take to the pickup their wedding rings; the lawyers, the doctors, their rings[…]”
Message from General Bertoldo Klinger to General Góis Monteiro about the Gold Campaign.
In order to keep the fields producing, the factories working and the commerce open, the Commercial Association invited volunteers for the financial aid campaign. On stations and squares, they received wedding rings, jewels and vases. In exchange, the donors got iron rings and/or documents stating: “I gave gold for the sake of São Paulo”. By the end of the campaign, over 30 thousand donated items had been rated and classified. On the eve of the rendition, fearing that the dictatorship leaders would take over the gold, the treasure was given to the hospital Santa Casa de Misericórdia.
“[…] Have you been following the Gold Campaign? Isn't it astonishing? I am so proud of my people! Despite the suffering of our soldiers, I feel so glad[…] I was so afraid that our generation of 'paulistas' wouldn't be 'bandeirante', but gladly they are more than that[…] When it's cold and rainy, my thoughts are always with the poor men who are feeling cold, risking their lives[…] when I see people that seem indifferent, I feel like fighting them, but fortunately there are very few people, even foreigners, who are indifferent[…]”
Letter to Marina from her mother, 08/23/32.
“[...] I dare to think that my participation — as a ten-year-old boy from a small town taken by the excitement — explains the feeling with which, for the majority in the country, those days were lived[…] We would walk through the dusty streets, yelling and screaming the song that rocked the country: ‘Pebbles, pebbles, at Getúlio's head!’[…]”
Hernâni Donato, historian.
The initials of the four protesters killed by federal troops on May 23, 1932 (Mário Martins de Almeida, Euclides Miragaia, Dráusio Marcondes de Sousa e Antônio Camargo de Andrade) form the acronym of the – at first, secret – society that was responsible for, among other things, military training to the 'paulista' uprising. The members were wagon drivers, builders, tailors, barbers, merchants, bankers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc..
“[...] All the commercial houses, banks, etc. are guarantying the position and salary of their employees who are sent to the frontlines or absent due to any other service to the constitutionalist cause.
There are ones that[…] are even giving bonuses, besides the salary[…]”
Letter from Annita to Marina, 08/16/32.
“[...] We have been serving approximately 1400 meals a day, besides coffee.
We do it all by ourselves, except washing the dishes and caldrons, for which we have a few helpers. The work is heavy, but we are always in a good mood[…] It's very difficult to write knowing that the letter will be read and censored, anyway, may they read it all. There's nothing wrong with it![…]”
“[...] We are going through a critical period on our Northern sector[...] The troops' concentration is increasing considerably.
I talked to [Colonel Euclydes] yesterday, and he said: ´We are hanging by a thin thread!’ I told him, then, that it was a strong thread, and he told me they were working on making it even stronger.
We lost Queluz, unfortunately, and I even cried with displeasure[…] I'm telling you a lot of stuff because I'm sending this through a private courier. It's better that you keep it to yourself. It's better that everyone believes in the newspaper's illusions. The war is hard and even harder up-close[…]”
There was censorship, of course. The information given to the newspapers was always about heroism, progress and success. The civil war was fought in all fronts and sectors, including journalism. To keep spirits high, the news were mixed with fiction.
“[...] Every time a forced retreat — although disguised as a simple rearrangement of the line — put in evidence the terrible organization flaws of the Revolution[…] our will to fight back, essential to the triumph of an armed uprising, would break. To gather an uprising and stopping it in the middle of the desired end; to rise a troop in rebellion and, instead of marching right to the front, seeking after an objective, making them stop, cave trenches and wait, it is to condemn ourselves to irremediable failure[…] There was no generalized betrayal, such infamous claim is not right to those that, by the end of the campaign, disheartened, hopeless of victory, decided to abandon the fight by laying down their weapons and surrendering themselves as prisoners. For so many who did so had given proofs of value, of personal dignity and of vigorous dedication to the cause during difficult times, risking it all for the victory. They softened, at last, tired, disappointed[…]”
Colonel Euclydes Figueiredo
Without the support of the remaining states from the region, São Paulo falls. On September 29, General Klinger sends a telegram to Getúlio Vargas proposing the ceasefire, “with the intent of not causing the nation any more life sacrifices, or material damages.”
To this day, the real number of casualties of the Constitutionalist Revolution is unknown. Some sources indicate approximately 800 dead, others estimate in more than 2000. One of these casualties was Henrique Junqueira Franco, Sargeant of the Rio Pardo Cavalry Regiment and husband of Marina Freire Junqueira Franco, the cook from the Soldier's House at Cruzeiro. He left one child.
“Your brother Henrique Junqueira Franco was a great soldier of the Law, a fearless defender of Liberty and a true apostle of the 'paulista' panache, however, the glory, according to Madame Stael, is a flaunting grieve, whose pomp raises the pain, inspiring happiness for immortalizing a hero. One can hear, at this instant, the festive sound of the clarion from 1932, announcing a new dawn, whose splendor dignifies the Junqueira family[…]”
Letter from Alfredo Feijó to Samuel Junqueira Franco, Henrique's brother, 07/07/59.
From the book “São Paulo Against the Dictatorship”, by Captains Heliodoro Tenório and Odilon Aquino de Oliveira, there is the following hymn:
"The paulista women contributed immensely to the Revolution.
[...] Having had their sons, their husbands, their fiancés, their brothers claimed to the battle for the sacred cause, the women from Piratininga hand them in without hesitation. A smile blooms onto their lips, as to express the great happiness that drowns their soul.
[...] São Paulo needs the precious metal to convert it to the thousand and one things that war consumes. The paulista woman does not waver. She renounces her rings, her earrings, her diamond-studded pendants, her professional badges and — sublime sacrifice — her wedding ring.
[...] And we see her at camps and campaign kitchens preparing, with motherly care, the meals for the constitutionalist soldier.
And we see her, under the snow colored clothing, at blood hospitals from the rear and dangerous fronts, where the machine gun roars and the cannon rumbles, thinking about the injuries of those who bleed for the happiness of the homeland.
[...] And there is no distinction of classes. Prejudices are gone. The poor and the rich, the plebeian and the aristocratic, the cult and the rustic mix themselves in a sublime communion of sentiments, ideas and action.
The participation of the paulista woman at the 1932 war cannot be described in a simple chapter.
How wonderful things the ‘bandeirante’ woman is capable of!”
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Coordenação Geral — André Sturm
Supervisão — Patrícia Lira
Curadoria — Ieda Marcondes e Isadora Xavier
Pesquisa — Cristina Araújo, Fabiana da Silva Ribeiro, Ieda Marcondes, Isadora Xavier, Rodrigo Antônio da Silva e Wilson Basso Neto
Digitalização de Fotos e Documentos — Gildo J. Rocha
Edição de Áudio — Gildo J. Rocha
Edição de Vídeo — Jeferson Ratoera
Apoio Técnico — Renan Daniel
Conselho de Administração — Cosette Alves (Presidente), Antônio Hermann (vice-presidente), Cecília Ribeiro, James Sinclair, Marcello Hallake, Max Perlingeiro, Nilton Guedes e Simone Gil Braz