Directed by Jay Craven and Doreen Kraft Produced by Robin Lloyd Narrated by Ossie Davis
In 1980, the United Nations called Nicaraguan National Literacy Crusade “the most important social movement of this generation.” In it, more than 65,000 mostly middle class teen-agers fanned out into the countryside and urban back alleys to work with poor people and peasants of all ages, to teach basic literacy skills. Inspired by the teachings of Brazilian educator and theorist Paulo Freire and led by Jesuit priest Fernando Cardinal, the Crusade was intended to unite the nation, build empathy across class and social lines, and heal the war-torn country. Dawn of the People captures the fleeting by dynamic moment of the Crusade. The filmmakers visited various Literacy Crusade sites and showed various aspects of the six-month campaign, through the eyes of its young brigadistas and the people they encountered in the countryside and cities.