Oct 09 2013
In February, CLAS invited film director Catherine Murphy to Vanderbilt and Tuskegee universities for a series of events surrounding her documentary Maestra. The film presents background and testimonials from the 1961 Cuban Literacy Campaign initiated by newly governing Fidel Castro with the goal of eradicating illiteracy in Cuba. Over 250,000 volunteers enlisted to participate—over half of which were women and 100,000 under the age of 18. The campaign successfully educated over 700,000 individuals within the short span of one year, setting a standard for Cuban literacy that exists to this day. Murphy’s film is both powerful and engaging, shedding light on this historic event through the lives of the volunteers and the country that enlisted them.
At Vanderbilt, Murphy led two lunch discussions, one on the LGBT movement in Cuba and another on the literacy campaign, for students in LAS, education, and women’s and gender studies. Murphy led a teacher workshop on the Cuban Literacy Campaign for local educators and presented the documentary at the International Lens screening at Sarratt Cinema.
Continuing our collaboration with Tuskegee University, Assistant Director for Outreach Claire González and Director Ted Fischer traveled with Murphy for a screening of the film and a teacher workshop on Tuskegee’s campus. Led by Murphy, González, and Tuskegee Professor of English Rhonda Collier, the workshop was attended by Macon County educators who returned to their classrooms with new perspectives on Cuba, education, and women’s rights.