1921 – He was born on the 19th day of September this year in Recife, Brazil. He knew poverty and hunger during the 1929 Great Depression, an experience that would shape his concerns for the poor and would help to construct his particular educational viewpoint.
1943 – Freire entered the University of Recife in this year, enrolling in the Faculty of Law, but also studying philosophy, more specifically phenomenology, and the psychology of language. Following his entrance into the legal bar, he never actually practised law and instead worked as a teacher in secondary schools teaching Portuguese.
1944 – In this year, he married Elza Maia Costa de Oliveira, a fellow teacher. The two worked together for the rest of her life and had five children.
1946 – Freire was chosen Director of the Department of Education and Culture of the Social Service in the State of Pernambuco, the Brazilian state of which Recife is the capital.
1961 – He was appointed director of the Department of Cultural Extension of Recife University, and in
1962 – He had the first opportunity for significant application of his theories, when 300 sugarcane workers were taught to read and write in just 45 days.
1964 – In this year, a military coup put an end to that effort, he was imprisoned as a traitor for 70 days. After a brief exile in Bolivia, Freire worked in Chile for five years for the Christian Democratic Agrarian Reform Movement and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
1967 – Freire published his first book, Education as the Practice of Freedom.
1969 – The book was well received, and Freire was offered a visiting professorship at Harvard University in this year.
1970 – The previous year, he wrote his most famous book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which was published also in Spanish and English in this year.
1974 – Because of the political feud between the successive authoritarian military dictatorships and the Christian socialist Freire, it wasn’t published in Brazil until this year, when General Ernesto Geisel took control of Brazil and began his process of cultural liberalisation.
1979 – He was able to return to Brazil, and moved back in 1980. Freire joined the Workers’ Party (PT) in the city of São Paulo, and acted as a supervisor for its adult literacy project from 1980 to 1986.
1988 – When the PT prevailed in the municipal elections in this year, Freire was appointed Secretary of Education for São Paulo.
1986 – His wife Elza died. Freire married Maria Araújo Freire, who continues with her own radical educational work.
1991 – The Paulo Freire Institute was established in São Paulo to extend and elaborate his theories of popular education. The Institute now has projects in many countries, and is currently headquartered at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
1997 – He expired on the 22nd day of May of this year in San Paulo, Brazil.