FOCUS ON HUMAN RIGHTS MONTH + 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF CUBAN LITERACY CAMPAIGN
MAESTRA 33 minutes Directed by Catherine Murphy
In 1961, over 250,000 Cubans joined their country’s National Literacy Campaign and taught more than 707,000 other Cubans to read and write. Almost half of these volunteer teachers were under 18. More than half were women. MAESTRA (Spanish for teacher) explores the experiences of nine of the women who, as young girls, helped eradicate Cuban illiteracy within one year and highlights the pivotal role of women’s and youth empowerment in building a new society.
WITH A STROKE OF THE CHAVETA 28 minutes directed by Pam Sporn
With a Stroke of the Chaveta takes viewers into the legendary cigar factories of Cuba to witness the survival of the collective reading of literature while tabaqueros roll cigars. We learn how through la lectura de tabaquería cigar workers have been entertained, educated, and maintained a sense of class solidarity.
Catherine Murphy, Gerald Horne and Pam Sporn
PAM SPORN is a Bronx based documentary filmmaker, educator, and activist. A pioneer in bringing social issue documentary making into NYC high schools in the 1980s and 1990s, Pam substantively contributed to the growth of the youth media movement. Sporn’s films include MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE: THE STORY OF PUERTO RICAN STUDIES AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE; DETROIT 48202: CONVERSATIONS ALONG A POSTAL ROUTE; CUBAN ROOTS/BRONX STORIES; WITH A STROKE OF THE CHAVETA; and DISOBEYING ORDERS: GI RESISTANCE TO THE VIETNAM WAR.Sporn holds a MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, CUNY. She is a member-owner of New Day Films distribution cooperative, New York Women in Film and Television, and the Bronx Filmmakers Collective.
Gerald Horne is an American historian who currently holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston.
Dr. Horne holds the Moores Professorship of History and African American Studies. His research has addressed issues of race in a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights, and war. Dr. Horne received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
- Black & Brown: Africans and the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 (New York University Press, 2005).
- Race War! White Supremacy & the Japanese Attack on the British Empire (New York University Press, 2003).
- Powell v. Alabama: The Scottsboro Boys and American Justice (FranklinWatts, 1997).
- Testaments of Courage: Selections from Men’s Slave Narratives (Franklin Watts, 1995).
- Race for the Planet: the U.S. & the New World Order (Kendall-Hunt, 1994).
- Black & Red: W.E.B. DuBois & the Afro-American Response to the Cold War, 1944-1963 (State University of New York Press, 1985).
Dr. Horne is the author of more than seventeen books and one hundred scholarly articles and reviews. His current research focuses on a variety of topics such as the U.S., Brazil and slavery; black labor at sea; the Communist Party in Hollywood; and Negro fascism.
The Literacy Project (the literacyproject.org), a non-profit organization founded by Catherine Murphy in 2005, is a documentary oral history project that collects personal testimonies about literacy. “Our work lifts up the stories of those who are teaching literacy or are struggling to achieve literacy,” says Murphy. The Literacy Project operates on the belief that literacy is a fundamental social justice and human rights issue, essential for a healthy and dignified society and a fully functioning democracy. Of special concern is the intersection of race and gender as it relates to literacy. Through a variety of media and documentation methodologies, an archive is being created of personal stories related to literacy and social justice movements throughout the Americas. The Literacy Project films include: Silvio Rodriguez: Mi primera tarea (2020); They Say I’m Your Teacher (2019); Maestra (2012) maestrathefilm.org; Cruzada (in production); Teach (in production); Lxs Hijxs de Paulo Freire (in development).
with Host Oya Amakisi
Oyatunde Amakisi is the founder of the Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival and Detroit Women of Color, Incorporated (DWC, Inc.). She is a compassionate and enthusiastic community organizer and artist, with decades of experience in cultural arts activism and social justice outreach.