Notes From a Cuban Diary:

Forty Women on Forty Years

Photographs & Testimonials
JC Elvy

The story of the Cuban Revolution has been told by a myriad of voices in a variety of cultural forms.  Popularized into the language of everyday life, the heroes of the Revolution have been typically mythologized as ´male´.  The everpresent man on the streets keeping his stories ´public´, hers thus remain private, history reminding us that the wife/mother forever negotiates between her public responsibilities and the ones in the home.

In respect to the sweeping reforms that occurred in Cuba following 1959, many consider the 1961 Campaña de Alfabetizacion (Literacy Campaign) to be the ´jewel´ of the entire Revolutionary movement.  More than 250,000 Cubans joined literacy brigades as literacy teachers, part of a grand movement to irradicate illiteracy in the country within one year.  More than half of those who volunteered were women.

Beyond the mechanics of reading and writing, it was the development of consciousness--in the illiterate and those who volunteered--that invited all Cubans into a positive forum to consider new possibilities

for their lives.  For women in Cuba, the Campaña marked a definite moment in liberation in how they would begin to view their life choices. 

This work-in-progress features photographic portraits of women who participated as literacy teachers, together with a cross-section of their reflective testimonials.

Click to download a sample of JC Elvy's work (pdf)