Carlos Cortés is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Riverside. Since 1990 he has served on the summer faculty of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, since 1995 has served on the faculty of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, and since 1999 has been an adjunct faculty member of the Federal Executive Institute.
Dr. Cortés elevates the theme of intermarriage to a new level of complexity in his closely observed and emotionally fraught memoir, Rose Hill: An Intermarriage Before Its Time, adapted from his nationally successful one-man play, A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Multicultural Rite of Passage.
A riveting memoir of cultural crossfire…
“Dad was a Mexican Catholic. Mom was a Kansas City–born Jew with Eastern European immigrant parents. They fell in love in Berkeley, California, and got married in Kansas City, Missouri. That alone would not have been a big deal. But it happened in 1933, when such marriages were rare. And my parents spent most of their lives in Kansas City, a place both racially segregated and religiously divided.”
In his new autobiography, Dr. Cortés lovingly chronicles his family’s tumultuous, decades-long spars over religion, class, and culture, from his early years in legally segregated Kansas City during the 1940s to his return to Berkeley (where his parents met) in the 1950s, and to his parents’ separation, reconciliation, deaths, and eventual burials at the Rose Hill Cemetery.
ROSE HILL: An Intermarriage Before Its Time, Inlandia Imprint/Heyday Books, $16.95 (Berkeley, CA 2012).