Howard Zinn

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Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn at lectern cropped.jpg
Zinn lecturing at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin on May 2, 2009.
Born (1922-08-24)August 24, 1922
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died January 27, 2010(2010-01-27) (aged 87)[1]
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Institutions Boston University
Alma mater New York University (B.A.)
Columbia University (M.A.) (Ph.D.)
Known for Civil rights, radical history, war and peace
Spouse Roslyn (Shechter) Zinn (died 2008)[1] 2 children

Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) was an American historian, author, playwright, and social activist. He was a political science professor at Boston University for 24 years and taught history at Spelman College for 7 years. Zinn wrote more than 20 books, including his best-selling and influential A People's History of the United States.[2] He wrote extensively about the civil rights and anti-war movements, and labor history of the United States. His memoir, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, was also the title of a 2004 documentary about Zinn's life and work.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Zinn was born to a Jewish immigrant family in Brooklyn. His father, Eddie Zinn, born in Austria-Hungary, emigrated to the U.S. with his brother Samuel before the outbreak of World War I. Howard's mother, Jenny (Rabinowitz) Zinn,[4] emigrated from the Eastern Siberian city of Irkutsk.

Both parents were factory workers with limited education when they met and married, and there were no books or magazines in the series of apartments where they raised their children. Zinn's parents introduced him to literature by sending 10 cents plus a coupon to the New York Post for each of the 20 volumes of Charles Dickens' collected works.[5] He also studied creative writing at Thomas Jefferson High School in a special program established by principal and poet Elias Lieberman.[6]

World War II[edit]

Eager to fight fascism, Zinn joined the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II and was assigned as a bombardier in the 490th Bombardment Group,[7] bombing targets in Berlin, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.[8] As bombardier, Zinn dropped napalm bombs in April 1945 on Royan, a seaside resort in southwestern France.[9] The anti-war stance Zinn developed later was informed, in part, by his experiences.

On a post-doctoral research mission nine years later, Zinn visited the resort near Bordeaux where he interviewed residents, reviewed municipal documents, and read wartime newspaper clippings at the local library. In 1966, Zinn returned to Royan after which he gave his fullest account of that research in his book, The Politics of History. On the ground, Zinn learned that the aerial bombing attacks in which he participated had killed more than 1000 French civilians as well as some German soldiers hiding near Royan to await the war's end, events that are described "in all accounts" he found as "une tragique erreur" that leveled a small but ancient city and "its population that was, at least officially, friend, not foe." In The Politics of History, Zinn described how the bombing was ordered—three weeks before the war in Europe ended—by military officials who were, in part, motivated more by the desire for their own career advancement than in legitimate military objectives. He quotes the official history of the U.S. Army Air Forces' brief reference to the Eighth Air Force attack on Royan and also, in the same chapter, to the bombing of Pilsen in what was then Czechoslovakia. The official history stated that the famous Skoda works in Pilsen "received 500 well-placed tons," and that "because of a warning sent out ahead of time the workers were able to escape, except for five persons."

Zinn wrote:

I recalled flying on that mission, too, as deputy lead bombardier, and that we did not aim specifically at the 'Skoda works' (which I would have noted, because it was the one target in Czechoslovakia I had read about) but dropped our bombs, without much precision, on the city of Pilsen. Two Czech citizens who lived in Pilsen at the time told me, recently, that several hundred people were killed in that raid (that is, Czechs)—not five.[10]

Zinn said his experience as a wartime bombardier, combined with his research into the reasons for, and effects of the bombing of Royan and Pilsen, sensitized him to the ethical dilemmas faced by G.I.s during wartime.[11] Zinn questioned the justifications for military operations that inflicted massive civilian casualties during the Allied bombing of cities such as Dresden, Royan, Tokyo, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, Hanoi during the War in Vietnam, and Baghdad during the war in Iraq and the civilian casualties during bombings in Afghanistan during the current and nearly decade-old war there. In his pamphlet, Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence[12] written in 1995, he laid out the case against targeting civilians with aerial bombing.

Six years later, he wrote:

Recall that in the midst of the Gulf War, the U.S. military bombed an air raid shelter, killing 400 to 500 men, women, and children who were huddled to escape bombs. The claim was that it was a military target, housing a communications center, but reporters going through the ruins immediately afterward said there was no sign of anything like that. I suggest that the history of bombing—and no one has bombed more than this nation—is a history of endless atrocities, all calmly explained by deceptive and deadly language like 'accident', 'military target', and 'collateral damage'.[13]

Education[edit]

After World War II, Zinn attended New York University on the GI Bill, graduating with a B.A. in 1951. At Columbia University, he later earned an M.A. (1952) and a Ph.D. in history with a minor in political science (1958). His masters' thesis examined the Colorado coal strikes of 1914.[14] His doctoral dissertation LaGuardia in Congress was a study of Fiorello LaGuardia's congressional career, and it depicted "the conscience of the twenties" as LaGuardia fought for public power, the right to strike, and the redistribution of wealth by taxation.[citation needed] "His specific legislative program," Zinn wrote, "was an astonishingly accurate preview of the New Deal." It was published by the Cornell University Press for the American Historical Association. La Guardia in Congress was nominated for the American Historical Association's Beveridge Prize as the best English-language book on American history.[15]

His professors at Columbia included Harry Carman, Henry Steele Commager, and David Donald.[14] But it was Columbia historian Richard Hofstadter's The American Political Tradition that made the most lasting impression. Zinn regularly included it in his lists of recommended readings, and, after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, Zinn wrote, "If Richard Hofstadter were adding to his book The American Political Tradition, in which he found both 'conservative' and 'liberal' presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, maintaining for dear life the two critical characteristics of the American system, nationalism and capitalism, Obama would fit the pattern."[16]

In 1960–61, Zinn was a post-doctoral fellow in East Asian Studies at Harvard University.

Academic career[edit]

"We were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness – embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television. This would seem to lead to a simple conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas."

— Howard Zinn, 2005 [17]

Zinn was professor of history at Spelman College in Atlanta from 1956 to 1963, and visiting professor at both the University of Paris and University of Bologna.

In 1964, Zinn accepted a position at Boston University, after writing two books and participating in the Civil Rights Movement in the South. His classes in civil liberties were among the most popular at the university with as many as 400 students subscribing each semester to the non-required class. A professor of political science, he taught at BU for 24 years and retired in 1988 at age 64.

"He had a deep sense of fairness and justice for the underdog. But he always kept his sense of humor. He was a happy warrior," said Caryl Rivers, journalism professor at Boston University. Rivers and Zinn were among a group of faculty members who in 1979 defended the right of the school's clerical workers to strike and were threatened with dismissal after refusing to cross a picket line.[18]

Zinn came to believe that the point of view expressed in traditional history books was often limited. Biographer Martin Duberman noted that when he was asked directly if he was a Marxist, Zinn replied, "Yes, I'm something of a Marxist." He especially was influenced by the liberating vision of the young Marx in overcoming alienation, and disliked Marx's later dogmatism. In later life he moved more toward anarchism.[19]

He wrote a history textbook, A People's History of the United States, to provide other perspectives on American history. The textbook depicts the struggles of Native Americans against European and U.S. conquest and expansion, slaves against slavery, unionists and other workers against capitalists, women against patriarchy, and African-Americans for civil rights. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1981.[20]

In the years since the first edition of A People's History was published in 1980, it has been used as an alternative to standard textbooks in many high school and college history courses, and it is one of the most widely known examples of critical pedagogy. The New York Times Book Review stated in 2006 that the book "routinely sells more than 100,000 copies a year".[21]

In 2004, Zinn published Voices of a People's History of the United States with Anthony Arnove. Voices is a sourcebook of speeches, articles, essays, poetry and song lyrics by the people themselves whose stories are told in A People's History.

In 2008, the Zinn Education Project[22] was launched to support educators using A People's History of the United States as a source for middle and high school history. The Project was started when a former student of Zinn, who wanted to bring Zinn's lessons to students around the country, provided the financial backing to allow two other organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change to coordinate the Project. The Project hosts a website that has over 100 free downloadable lesson plans to complement A People's History of the United States.

The People Speak, released in 2010, is a documentary movie based on A People's History of the United States and inspired by the lives of ordinary people who fought back against oppressive conditions over the course of the history of the United States. The film, narrated by Zinn, includes performances by Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Viggo Mortensen, Josh Brolin, Danny Glover, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle, and Sandra Oh.[23][24][25]

Civil Rights Movement[edit]

From 1956 through 1963, Zinn chaired the Department of History and social sciences at Spelman College. He participated in the Civil Rights Movement and lobbied with historian August Meier[26] "to end the practice of the Southern Historical Association of holding meetings at segregated hotels".[27]

While at Spelman, Zinn served as an adviser to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and wrote about sit-ins and other actions by SNCC for The Nation and Harper's.[28] In 1964, Beacon Press published his book SNCC: The New Abolitionists[29]

Zinn collaborated with historian Staughton Lynd mentoring student activists, among them Alice Walker,[30] who would later write The Color Purple; and Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund. Edelman identified Zinn as a major influence in her life and, in that same journal article, tells of his accompanying students to a sit-in at the segregated white section of the Georgia state legislature.[31]

Although Zinn was a tenured professor, he was dismissed in June 1963 after siding with students in the struggle against segregation. As Zinn described[32] in The Nation, though Spelman administrators prided themselves for turning out refined "young ladies," its students were likely to be found on the picket line, or in jail for participating in the greater effort to break down segregation in public places in Atlanta. Zinn's years at Spelman are recounted in his autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times. His seven years at Spelman College, Zinn said, "are probably the most interesting, exciting, most educational years for me. I learned more from my students than my students learned from me."[33]

While living in Georgia, Zinn wrote that he observed 30 violations of the First and Fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution in Albany, Georgia, including the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and equal protection under the law. In an article on the civil rights movement in Albany, Zinn described the people who participated in the Freedom Rides to end segregation, and the reluctance of President John F. Kennedy to enforce the law.[34] Zinn has also pointed out that the Justice Department under Robert F. Kennedy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, headed by J. Edgar Hoover, did little or nothing to stop the segregationists from brutalizing civil rights workers.[35]

Zinn wrote about the struggle for civil rights, as both participant and historian.[36] His second book, The Southern Mystique[37] was published in 1964, the same year as his SNCC: The New Abolitionists in which he describes how the sit-ins against segregation were initiated by students and, in that sense, were independent of the efforts of the older, more established civil rights organizations.

In 2005, forty-one years after his firing, Zinn returned to Spelman where he was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and delivered the commencement address[38][39] where he said in part, during his speech titled, "Against Discouragement," that "the lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. The government may try to deceive the people, and the newspapers and television may do the same, but the truth has a way of coming out. The truth has a power greater than a hundred lies."[40]

Anti-war efforts[edit]

Zinn wrote one of the earliest books calling for the U.S. withdrawal from its war in Vietnam. Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was published by Beacon Press in 1967 based on his articles in Commonweal, The Nation, and Ramparts.

In Noam Chomsky's view, The Logic of Withdrawal was Zinn's most important book. "He was the first person to say—loudly, publicly, very persuasively—that this simply has to stop; we should get out, period, no conditions; we have no right to be there; it's an act of aggression; pull out. It was so surprising at the time that there wasn't even a review of the book. In fact, he asked me if I would review it in Ramparts just so that people would know about the book."[41]

In December 1969, radical historians tried unsuccessfully to persuade the American Historical Association to pass an anti-Vietnam War resolution. "A debacle unfolded as Harvard historian (and AHA president in 1968) John Fairbank literally wrestled the microphone from Zinn's hands."[42] Correspondence by Fairbank, Zinn and other historians, published by the AHA in 1970, is online in what Fairbank called "our briefly-famous Struggle for the Mike".[43]

In later years, Zinn was an adviser to the Disarm Education Fund.[44]

Vietnam[edit]

Zinn's diplomatic visit to Hanoi with Rev. Daniel Berrigan, during the Tet Offensive in January 1968, resulted in the return of three American airmen, the first American POWs released by the North Vietnamese since the U.S. bombing of that nation had begun. The event was widely reported in the news media and discussed in a variety of books including Who Spoke Up? American Protest Against the War in Vietnam 1963–1975 by Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan.[45] Zinn and the Berrigan brothers, Dan and Philip, remained friends and allies over the years.

Also in January 1968, he signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the war.[46]

Daniel Ellsberg, a former RAND consultant who had secretly copied The Pentagon Papers, which described the history of the United States' military involvement in Southeast Asia, gave a copy to Howard and Roslyn Zinn.[47] Along with Noam Chomsky, Zinn edited and annotated the copy of The Pentagon Papers that Senator Mike Gravel read into the Congressional Record and that was subsequently published by Beacon Press in what has come to be known as the Senator Mike Gravel edition of The Pentagon Papers — four volumes plus a fifth volume containing analysis by Chomsky and Zinn.

Announced on August 17[48] and published on October 22, 1971,[citation needed] this four-volume, relatively expensive set[48] became the "Senator Gravel Edition", which studies from Cornell University and the Annenberg Center for Communication have labeled as the most complete edition of the Pentagon Papers to be published.[49][50] The "Gravel Edition" was edited and annotated by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and included an additional volume of analytical articles on the origins and progress of the war, also edited by Chomsky and Zinn.[50] Beacon Press became the object of an FBI investigation;[51] an outgrowth of which was Gravel v. United States in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 1972;[51] that the Speech or Debate Clause in the US Constitution did grant immunity to Gravel for his reading the papers in his subcommittee, and did grant some immunity to Gravel's congressional aide, but granted no immunity to Beacon Press in relation to its publishing the same papers.[52]

Zinn testified as an expert witness at Ellsberg's criminal trial for theft, conspiracy, and espionage in connection with the publication of the Pentagon Papers by The New York Times. Defense attorneys asked Zinn to explain to the jury the history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam from World War II through 1963. Zinn discussed that history for several hours, and later reflected on his time before the jury.

I explained there was nothing in the papers of military significance that could be used to harm the defense of the United States, that the information in them was simply embarrassing to our government because what was revealed, in the government's own interoffice memos, was how it had lied to the American public. The secrets disclosed in the Pentagon Papers might embarrass politicians, might hurt the profits of corporations wanting tin, rubber, oil, in far-off places. But this was not the same as hurting the nation, the people.[53]

Most of the jurors later said that they voted for acquittal. However, the federal judge who presided over the case dismissed it on grounds it had been tainted by the Nixon administration's burglary of the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

Zinn's testimony on the motivation for government secrecy was confirmed in 1989 by Erwin Griswold, who as U.S. solicitor general during the Nixon administration, sued The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971 to stop publication.[54] Griswold persuaded three Supreme Court justices to vote to stop The New York Times from continuing to publish the Pentagon Papers, an order known as "prior restraint" that has been held to be illegal under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The papers were simultaneously published in The Washington Post, effectively nullifying the effect of the prior restraint order. In 1989, Griswold admitted there had been no national security damage resulting from publication.[54] In a column in the Washington Post, Griswold wrote: "It quickly becomes apparent to any person who has considerable experience with classified material that there is massive over classification and that the principal concern of the classifiers is not with national security, but with governmental embarrassment of one sort or another."

Zinn supported the G.I. antiwar movement during the U.S. war in Vietnam. In the 2001 film Unfinished Symphony, Zinn provides a historical context for the 1971 antiwar march by Vietnam Veterans against the War. The marchers traveled from Lexington, Massachusetts, to Bunker Hill, "which retraced Paul Revere's ride of 1775 and ended in the massive arrest of 410 veterans and civilians by the Lexington police." The film depicts "scenes from the 1971 Winter Soldier hearings,[55] during which former G.I.s testified about "atrocities" they either participated in or said they had witnessed committed by U.S. forces in Vietnam.[56]

Iraq[edit]

Howard Zinn speaking at Marlboro College February 2004

Zinn opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq and wrote several books about it. In an interview with The Brooklyn Rail he said,

We certainly should not be initiating a war, as it's not a clear and present danger to the United States, or in fact, to anyone around it. If it were, then the states around Iraq would be calling for a war on it. The Arab states around Iraq are opposed to the war, and if anyone's in danger from Iraq, they are. At the same time, the U.S. is violating the U.N. charter by initiating a war on Iraq. Bush made a big deal about the number of resolutions Iraq has violated—and it's true, Iraq has not abided by the resolutions of the Security Council. But it's not the first nation to violate Security Council resolutions. Israel has violated Security Council resolutions every year since 1967. Now, however, the U.S. is violating a fundamental principle of the U.N. Charter, which is that nations can't initiate a war—they can only do so after being attacked. And Iraq has not attacked us.[57]

He asserted that the U.S. would end Gulf War II when resistance within the military increased in the same way resistance within the military contributed to ending the U.S. war in Vietnam. Zinn compared the demand by a growing number of contemporary U.S. military families to end the war in Iraq to parallel demands "in the Confederacy in the Civil War, when the wives of soldiers rioted because their husbands were dying and the plantation owners were profiting from the sale of cotton, refusing to grow grains for civilians to eat."[58]

Jean-Christophe Agnew, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, told the Yale Daily News in May 2007 that Zinn’s historical work is "highly influential and widely used".[59] He observed that it is not unusual for prominent professors such as Zinn to weigh in on current events, citing a resolution opposing the war in Iraq that was recently ratified by the American Historical Association.[60] Agnew added: "In these moments of crisis, when the country is split—so historians are split".[61]

Socialism[edit]

Zinn described himself as "something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a democratic socialist."[62][63] He suggested looking at socialism in its full historical context as a popular, positive idea that got a bad name from its association with Soviet Communism. In Madison, Wisconsin, in 2009, Zinn said:

Let's talk about socialism. I think it's very important to bring back the idea of socialism into the national discussion to where it was at the turn of the [last] century before the Soviet Union gave it a bad name. Socialism had a good name in this country. Socialism had Eugene Debs. It had Clarence Darrow. It had Mother Jones. It had Emma Goldman. It had several million people reading socialist newspapers around the country. Socialism basically said, hey, let's have a kinder, gentler society. Let's share things. Let's have an economic system that produces things not because they're profitable for some corporation, but produces things that people need. People should not be retreating from the word socialism because you have to go beyond capitalism.[64]

FBI files[edit]

Occupy Oakland, November 12, 2011, Howard Zinn quotation

Because of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, on July 30, 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a file with 423 pages of information on Howard Zinn’s life and activities. During the height of McCarthyism in 1949, the FBI first opened a domestic security investigation on Zinn (FBI File # 100-360217), based on Zinn’s activities in what the agency considered to be communist front groups and informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA).[65] Zinn denied ever being a member and said that he had participated in the activities of various organizations which might be considered Communist fronts but that his participation was motivated by his belief that in this country people had the right to believe, think, and act according to their own ideals.[65] According to journalist Chris Hedges, Zinn "steadfastly refused to cooperate in the anti-communist witch hunts in the 1950s."[66]

Later in the 1960s, as a result of Zinn's campaigning against the Vietnam War and his influence on Martin Luther King, Jr., the FBI designated Zinn a high security risk to the country, a category that allowed them to summarily arrest him if a state of emergency were to be declared.[65][67] The FBI memos also show that they were concerned with Zinn’s repeated criticism of the FBI for failing to protect blacks against white mob violence. Zinn's daughter said she was not surprised by the files; "He always knew they had a file on him".[65]

Personal life[edit]

Zinn married Roslyn Shechter in 1944. They remained married until her death in 2008. They had a daughter, Myla, and a son, Jeff.[68]

Death[edit]

Zinn was swimming in a hotel pool when he died of an apparent heart attack[69] in Santa Monica, California, on January 27, 2010. He was 87. He had been scheduled to speak at the Santa Monica Museum of Art for an event titled "A Collection of Ideas... the People Speak."[70]

In one of his last interviews,[71] Zinn stated that he would like to be remembered "for introducing a different way of thinking about the world, about war, about human rights, about equality," and

for getting more people to realize that the power which rests so far in the hands of people with wealth and guns, that the power ultimately rests in people themselves and that they can use it. At certain points in history, they have used it. Black people in the South used it. People in the women's movement used it. People in the anti-war movement used it. People in other countries who have overthrown tyrannies have used it.

He said he wanted to be known as "somebody who gave people a feeling of hope and power that they didn't have before."[72]

Notable recognition[edit]

  • Established by school teachers while he was alive, the Zinn Education Project is Howard Zinn's legacy to middle- and high-school teachers and their students. The nonprofit organization offers classroom teachers free and low-cost teaching activities based on A People's History and like-minded history texts.

Awards[edit]

"I can't think of anyone who had such a powerful and benign influence. His historical work changed the way millions of people saw the past. The happy thing about Howard was that in the last years he could gain satisfaction that his contributions were so impressive and recognized."

Noam Chomsky [3]

For his leadership in the Peace Movement, Zinn received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in 1996. He received the Thomas Merton Award and, in 1998, the Eugene V. Debs Award.[73] In 1998, he won the Lannan Literary Award[74] for nonfiction and the following year won the Upton Sinclair Award, which honors social activism. In 2003, Zinn was awarded the Prix des Amis du Monde diplomatique[75] for the French version of his seminal work, Une histoire populaire des Etats-Unis.

On October 5, 2006, Zinn received the Haven's Center Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship in Madison, Wisconsin.[76]

Controversies[edit]

The Associated Press (AP) revealed in July 2013 that former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels asked for assurance from his education advisors that Zinn's works were not taught in K-12 public schools in the state.[77] The AP had gained access to Daniels' emails under a Freedom of Information Act request. Daniels also wanted a "cleanup" of K-12 professional development courses to eliminate "propaganda and highlight (if there is any) the more useful offerings." [78]

In one of the emails, Daniels expressed contempt for Zinn upon his death:

This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away...The obits and commentaries mentioned his book, A People’s History of the United States, is the ‘textbook of choice in high schools and colleges around the country.’ It is a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page. Can someone assure me that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?[79]

At the time the emails were released, Daniels was serving as the president of Purdue University. In response, 90 out of roughly 1,800 Purdue professors issued an open letter expressing their concern. Included in the letter were some of the staff's most prominent historians.[80][81][82][83] Because of Daniels' attempt to suppress Zinn's book, the former governor was accused of censorship, to which Daniels responded by saying that his views were misrepresented, and that if Zinn were alive and a member of the Purdue faculty, he would defend his free speech rights and right to publish.[84]

David J. Bobb supported Daniels' stand on Zinn by penning an opinion piece in the online Wall Street Journal, where he asserted Zinn was not a real historian, but a Marxist-propagandist.[85] However, Zinn had consistently expressed his personal political ideology to be aligned with anarchist thought, and conceded that he was "something" of a Marxist being that "people have so many different notions about what a Marxist is."[86][87]

References in popular culture[edit]

In film[edit]

  • Actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who grew up near Zinn and were family friends, gave A People's History a plug in their Academy Award-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting (1997).[3]
  • A People's History was the basis for the 2007 documentary Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind."[3]
  • An interview with Zinn is featured in the documentary film Sacco and Vanzetti (2007).
  • The 2010 Spanish film También la lluvia (Even the Rain), depicting the struggle of the indigenous people of Bolivia against the privatization of their water supply, is dedicated to his memory.
  • An interview with Zinn is featured in the documentary film Hit & Stay (2013).
  • Zinn's book "A People's History of The United States" is criticized in Dinesh D'Souza's movie, "America," released July 03, 2014.

In television[edit]

In music[edit]

  • In 2002 punkrock record label Alternative Tentacles, released Apocalypse Always!, a compilation CD featuring many punk rock bands as well as a spoken word track by Howard Zinn.
  • The Pearl Jam song "Down" from the album Lost Dogs was inspired by the band's friendship with Zinn.[citation needed] In the March 13, 2010, episode of Saturday Night Live, lead singer Eddie Vedder's guitar sports a sticker reading "ZINN". The band dedicated a performance of their song "Undone" as a tribute to Zinn during their 5/17/10 concert at TD Garden in Boston, MA. A tribute to Howard Zinn's wife, Roslyn, was prominently featured in the tour program for Eddie Vedder's solo tour of 2008.
  • Musician Bruce Springsteen's bleak album Nebraska was inspired in part by A People's History.[3]
  • In the System Of A Down song "Deer Dance", about police brutality against peaceful protest, Zinn is paraphrased in the line "We can't afford to be neutral on a moving train" and in their song "AD.D" from their album Steal This Album!: "There is no flag large enough, to hide the shame of a man in cuffs."
  • Viggo Mortensen and Buckethead used snippets of one of Zinn's speeches in the song "What Kind of Nation" from their album Intelligence Failure.[88][89][90]
  • The song Franco Un-American, off the 2003 album The War on Errorism by American punk rock band NOFX, references lead singer Fat Mike reading Howard Zinn as part of learning more about the world: "I never looked around, never second-guessed, then I read some Howard Zinn, now I'm always depressed".[91]
  • Lupe Fiasco samples part of Howard Zinn's speech "War and Social Justice" on the Introduction track of his 2011 mixtape "Friend of the People: I Fight Evil"
  • Rapper Vinnie Paz samples quotes from Howard Zinn's speech; "You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train" on his album released in 2012; God of the Serengeti on the track of the same name.[92]

Bibliography[edit]

Author[edit]

Contributor[edit]

Recordings[edit]

  • A People's History of the United States (1999)
  • Artists in the Time of War (2002)
  • Heroes & Martyrs: Emma Goldman, Sacco & Vanzetti, and the Revolutionary Struggle (2000)
  • Stories Hollywood Never Tells (2000)
  • You Can't Blow Up A Social Relationship, CD including Zinn lectures and performances by rock band Resident genius (Thick Records, 2005)[95]

Theatre[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Feeney, Mark (27 January 2010). "Howard Zinn, historian who challenged status quo, dies at 87". USA: Boston.com. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  2. ^ Howard Zinn, Historian, Is Dead at 87, January 28, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e Howard Zinn Dead, Author Of 'People's History Of The United States' Died At 87 by Hillel Italie, The Huffington Post, January 27, 2010.
  4. ^ Howard Zinn Critical Essay – Introduction – Volume 199 – Contemporary Literary Criticism – Zinn, Howard. Enotes.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-04.
  5. ^ Howard Zinn – One Step Ahead of the Landlord.
  6. ^ Appel, Jacob M. Howard Zinn: Chronicling Lives from Spelman College to Boston U. Education Update, April 2004.
  7. ^ The Politics of History 2nd ed. by Howard Zinn (University of Illinois Press, 1990) pp. 258–274) ISBN 978-0-252-01673-8.
  8. ^ "Film clip of Zinn". Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  9. ^ Zinn, Howard (1990). Declarations of Independence. New York, NY: HarperPerennial. ISBN 978-0-06-092108-8. 
  10. ^ The Politics of History p. 260.
  11. ^ "Interview with Zinn". Progressive.org. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  12. ^ Zinn Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence by Howard Zinn at the Wayback Machine (archived July 25, 2008).
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  15. ^ January 29, 2010 "Howard Zinn, Historian, Is Dead at 87".
  16. ^ "What next for struggle in the Obama era?" The Socialist Worker November 5, 2008, Issue 684.
  17. ^ Changing Minds, One at a Time by Howard Zinn, Published in the March 2005 issue of The Progressive.
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  20. ^ The National Book Awards Winners & Finalists. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  21. ^ "Backlist to the Future" by Rachel Donadio, July 30, 2006.
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  31. ^ Edelman, Marian Wright. "Spelman College: A Safe Haven for A Young Black Woman." The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, no. 27 (2000): 118–123.
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  36. ^ "Reporting Civil Rights, Part one: American Journalism 1941–1963". The Library of America. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
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  40. ^ "Tomgram: Graduation Day with Howard Zinn". Tomdispatch.com. Retrieved 2010-01-28.  full text of "Against Discouragement."
  41. ^ Howard Zinn (1922–2010): A Tribute to the Legendary Historian with Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Naomi Klein and Anthony Arnove.
  42. ^ "Forty Years On: Looking Back at the 1969 Annual Meeting" by Carl Mirra February 2010 issue of Perspectives on History published by the American Historical Association.
  43. ^ From the June 1970 AHA Newsletter "Professional Comment and Controversy: An Open Letter to Howard Zinn".
  44. ^ Disarm National Advisory Board. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  45. ^ Who Spoke Up? American Protest Against the War in Vietnam 1963–1975. Horizon Book Promotions. 1989. ISBN 978-0-385-17547-0. 
  46. ^ "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" January 30, 1968 New York Post
  47. ^ Ellsberg autobiography, Zinn autobiography.
  48. ^ a b "Church Plans 4-Book Version of Pentagon Study" (fee required). The New York Times. 1971-08-18. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  49. ^ Kahn, George McT. (June 1975). "The Pentagon Papers: A Critical Evaluation". American Political Science Review (The American Political Science Review, Vol. 69, No. 2) 69 (2): 675–684. doi:10.2307/1959096. JSTOR 1959096. 
  50. ^ a b "Resources". Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers. Annenberg Center for Communication at University of Southern California. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
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  54. ^ a b Blanton, Tom (2006-05-21). "The lie behind the secrets". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  55. ^ Winter Soldier Investigation. 1971. 
  56. ^ Cineaste pp. 91, 96. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
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  58. ^ Interview with Zinn.
  59. ^ "Zinn calls for activism". Yale Daily News. 2007-05-03. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  60. ^ "American Historical Association Blog: Iraq War Resolution is Ratified by AHA Members". Blog.historians.org. 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  61. ^ Yu, Lea. "Historian Howard Zinn Calls for Activism – CommonDreams.org". CommonDreams.org. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  62. ^ "War is the Health of the State: An Interview with Howard Zinn", By Paul Glavin & Chuck Morse, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2003.
  63. ^ Howard Zinn on Democratic Socialism on YouTube
  64. ^ Howard Zinn: The Historian Who Made History by Dave Zirin, The Huffington Post, January 28, 2010.
  65. ^ a b c d The FBI’s File on Howard Zinn by Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, July 31, 2010
  66. ^ Hedges, Chris (1 August 2010). Why the Feds Fear Thinkers Like Howard Zinn. Truthdig. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  67. ^ FBI — Howard Zinn. Vault.fbi.gov. Retrieved on 2013-08-04.
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  69. ^ "Howard Zinn, Historian, Is Dead at 87" The New York Times January 29, 2010.
  70. ^ Howard Zinn dies at 87; author of best-selling People's History of the United States: Activist collapsed in Santa Monica, where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture. by Robert J. Lopez, January 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  71. ^ Howard Zinn video in nine parts.
  72. ^ Howard Zinn: How I Want to Be Remembered.
  73. ^ Eugene V Debs Foundation Member Awards at the Wayback Machine (archived May 5, 2008). Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  74. ^ "Lannan Foundation – Howard Zinn". Lannan.org. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  75. ^ "Prix des Amis du Monde diplomatique 2003 – Les Amis du Monde diplomatique". Amis.monde-diplomatique.fr. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
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  77. ^ "AP EXCLUSIVE: DANIELS LOOKED TO CENSOR OPPONENTS". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
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  81. ^ Franck, Mathew. "Mitch Daniels Can Count". First Things. Retrieved Aug 14, 2013. 
  82. ^ Wang, Stephanie. "Purdue faculty 'troubled' by Mitch Daniels' Howard Zinn comments". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  83. ^ LoBianco, Tom (2013-07-22). "Mitch Daniels Letter: Purdue Professors Blast Former GOP Gov Over Howard Zinn Comments". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
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  85. ^ Bobb, David. "Howard Zinn and the Art of Anti-Americanism; Hollywood and the academic left have made the late Marxist historian more influential than ever". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
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  88. ^ "Viggo Mortensen". TDRS Music. 2007-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  89. ^ "Intelligence Failure". Perceval Press. 2007. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
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  91. ^ NOFX (2004). "Franco Un-american lyrics". LyricsFreak. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  92. ^ Howard Zinn – You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train on YouTube
  93. ^ Declarations of independence: cross-examining American ideology By Howard Zinn.
  94. ^ "Politics of Knowledge: Richard Ohmann". UPNE. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  95. ^ "You Can't Blow Up A Social Relationship".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Interviews
Obituaries
Videos