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Common Reading 2019: Hilary Saunders

"Leyla McCalla Finds Her Haitian History"

"By learning more about my Haitian roots and what the real history is, what the music is about, [I learned] there are so many things that are messed up about our perception in the United States.”

—Leyla McCalla

Hilary Saunders

Hilary Saunders writes and edits journalistic stories, marketing copy, social media posts, business plans, biographies, style guides, among others. She has more than 10 years of experience accruing journalism bylines. She is also the Managing Editor at No Depression and is a “staunch supporter of the Oxford comma. 

Discussion Questions

1. Listen to this song from Leyla McCalla's newest album. How does it tell a story? How does other music you love tell stories?


2. What else can you communicate (or learn) through music?


3. What other kinds of art tell stories?

In-Class Activities

1. Split into groups and have each group pick a culture. Each group researches a culture and how music is portrayed in that culture. Share the findings with the class.


2. Find a song that you think represents some aspect of your culture or your identity and share it with the class.


Michael Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator of Africana Studies at Susquehanna University. He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago and BA from the Louisiana Scholar’s College at Northwestern State University. 

Introduction by Michael Thomas