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Center for the Arts and Humanities Blog

Image courtesy of Mayra Sierra-Rivera '20, Studio art major

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Reading about the 1920s/30s

by Juan Velasco-Moreno

This summer I am immersed in the 1920-1930s.

After watching The US vs. Billie Holiday, I decided to re-read Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday and William Dufty. She is my favorite Jazz singer of all time. I never get tired of listening to her amazing voice through this autobiography. The book is excellent. You can hear her soul through her stories and her sense of humor. Highly recommended.

Lady Sings the Blues

Image from Lady Sings the Blues, via

I am also reading Madrid 1937: Letters of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the Spanish Civil War. The letters from those heroes who volunteered to fight against fascism in Europe in the 1930s are heartbreaking. They show a very diverse group of Americans united by their principles to bring social justice and equality to all. Their sacrifices and their visionary way of looking at the world is truly inspiring.

Madrid 1937

Image via Routledge

I am also reading Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner and her clarity and compassion, her writing and her research, really illuminates the painful stories she uncovers. It is a difficult but necessary book to read so we can better understand the most difficult moments of our country's history.

summer 2021 blog,

Juan Velasco-Moreno is a professor in the English Department, where he teaches courses in creative writing and Latinx Literature.