Francisco Pessoa de Queiroz, better-known as F. Pessoa de Queiroz, was a diplomat, journalist and businessman, and also Federal Congressman and Senator of the Republic. He was born in Umbuzeiro, a town in Paraíba on the border with Pernambuco, on 7 November 1890, to João Vicente Queiroz and Mirandolina Lucena Pessoa de Queiroz.
It was this marriage, which occurred in 1881 that united the surnames Pessoa and Queiroz. Though they belonged to illustrious families of the regions, Vicente and Mirandolina were poor farm workers.
Francisco was educated in Recife by his godparents, who welcomed him in their home until the conclusion of his bachelor studies at the Recife Law Faculty, in 1911. The following year, he did a course of International Public Law at the University of Paris, which enabled him to be admitted by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, being posted to the diplomatic corps in London and, later, Buenos Aires.
Having already graduated, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, assuming the position of personal secretary to his uncle, Epitácio Pessoa, senator of the Republic for the state of Paraíba and dignified jurist. He would later be special assessor on diplomatic missions abroad for Epitácio himself, and personal secretary of the Republic Presidency, when his uncle was elected president in 1919. It was also in Rio de Janeiro where F. Pessoa de Queiroz married Leontina Jouvin, in November 1924, with whom he had two children, Paulo e Elza.
Aspiring to enter political life, he left the diplomatic corps in 1918 to run for Federal Congressman of Pernambuco, with the support of the main commercial business and the prestige of his family, especially of his brothers José and João Pessoa de Queiroz, well-respected businessmen in the region.
Returning then to diplomacy, F. Pessoa de Queiroz was invited to become a member of the Cabinet of Chancellor Domício da Gama, the Brazilian General Counsel in Romania. A year later, he was part of the Brazilian delegation to the Peace Conference in Versailles in 1919.
In 1920, José Bezerra, the then-governor of Pernambuco, included the name of F. Pessoa de Queiroz on his election ticket. He left his position as Secretary of the Presidency and, with the support of his brothers, was elected as a Federal Congressman for Pernambuco for four mandates: from 1921 to 1923, from 1924 to 1926, from 1927 to 1929 and in 1930.
He was a member of the Diplomacy and Treaties Commission, representing the Brazilian Congress at the International Conference in Brussels (1925), Rome (1927), Rio de Janeiro and Paris (1928).
In 1921, he assumed the direction of the newspaper Jornal do Commercio, from Recife, founded by his brothers in 1919. The congressman and his brother were actively part of the events leading up to the Revolution of 1930.
During the 1929 presidential campaign, the Jornal do Commercio backed the candidacy of Júlio Prestes against an opposition team formed by Getúlio Vargas and João Pessoa. Showing the newspaper’s position, its writers strongly attacked the policies of João Pessoa, resulting in serious political disagreement.
With the fall of the regime in 1930, F. Pessoa de Queiroz was deposed and deported, remaining in exile in France until 1932. The paper had its circulation suspended for four years. When he returned to Brazil, he made it his mission to restore the family assets that had been practically destroyed by protests carried out during the Revolution.
Removed from politics, he decided to turn his attention to neutrality and independence. In 1934, he re-established the “late” Jornal do Commercio, restructuring it, building a luxurious headquarters and turning it into a public company. He hired big names in journalism, like Caio Pereira, Luiz Delgado, Mario Melo, Esmaragdo Marroquim and others, breathing new life into the paper.
In 1948, the Rádio Jornal do Commercio was inaugurated using the slogan Pernambuco falando para o mundo “Pernambuco speaking to the world”, in a demonstration of pride for the land he considered his own. Later, he was given permission for four other radio stations in the interior of the State, based in Garanhuns, Caruaru, Limoeiro and Pesqueira. In July 1960, the network was expanded with the inauguration of TV Jornal do Comércio – channel 2, securing a large and respectable share of the communications market, having been a pioneer in the transmission of television programmes. A new age for mass media was born in Pernambuco.
In 1958, he returned to the political scene by being elected Senator for Pernambuco, where he had a notable performance in addressing the problems of the State. After serving his eight-year term in the Senate, F. Pessoa de Queiroz, with his health deteriorating, gradually abandoned public life.
In 1980, at the age of 90, he received the Medalha do Mérito Empresarial Conde da Boa Vista (Count of Boa Vista Medal for Entrepreneurial Merit), gold class, awarded by the state government.
Having retired from his business activities, F. Pessoa de Queiroz passed away in Recife, on 7 December 1980.
Before his death, he gave the direction of his company to his son, Paulo Pessoa de Queiroz. Under the administration of his son, the business began to decline, facing many years of crisis until it was acquired by the Paes Mendonça Group who revitalised the company, transforming it into one of the main media companies in the country.
FUNDAÇÃO JOAQUIM NABUCO. F. Pessoa de Queiroz: 100 anos de um pioneiro. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 1990. Catálogo da Exposição realizada em 21 de novembro, no Espaço Cultural Mauro Mota- Galeria Vicente do Rego Monteiro da Fundação Joaquim Nabuco.
PERÍODOS legislativos da Quinta República, 1971- 1974. Disponível em: <http://www.senado.gov.br/sf/senadores_biografia.asp?codparl=42&lcab=1963-1967lf=42>. Acesso em: 8 jun. 2007.
F. PESSOA: uma vida de lutas por Pernambuco. Diario de Pernambuco, Recife, 9 dez. 1980.
PEREIRA, Nilo. F. Pessoa de Queiroz e seu jornal. Recife: Fundação de Cultura da Cidade do Recife; Sindicato dos Jornalistas Profissionais do Estado de Pernambuco; Bompreço Gráfica Editora, 1989. (Coleção Recife. 53).
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Source: ANDRADE, Maria do Carmo. F. Pessoa de Queiroz. Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.