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Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn

Overview
Howard Zinn was an American historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

, academic, author, playwright, and social activist. Before and during his tenure as a political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 professor at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

 from 1964-88 he wrote more than 20 books, which included his best-selling and influential A People's History of the United States
A People's History of the United States
Chapter 7, "As Long As Grass Grows or Water Runs" discusses 19th century conflicts between the U.S. government and Native Americans and Indian removal, especially during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren....

. He wrote extensively about the Civil Rights and anti-war
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

 movements, as well as of the labor history of the United States
Labor history of the United States
The labor history of the United States describes the history of organized labor, as well as the more general history of working people, in the United States. Pressures dictating the nature and power of organized labor have included the evolution and power of the corporation, efforts by employers...

. 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.

Zinn was born to a Jewish immigrant family in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

.
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Encyclopedia
Howard Zinn was an American historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

, academic, author, playwright, and social activist. Before and during his tenure as a political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 professor at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

 from 1964-88 he wrote more than 20 books, which included his best-selling and influential A People's History of the United States
A People's History of the United States
Chapter 7, "As Long As Grass Grows or Water Runs" discusses 19th century conflicts between the U.S. government and Native Americans and Indian removal, especially during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren....

. He wrote extensively about the Civil Rights and anti-war
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

 movements, as well as of the labor history of the United States
Labor history of the United States
The labor history of the United States describes the history of organized labor, as well as the more general history of working people, in the United States. Pressures dictating the nature and power of organized labor have included the evolution and power of the corporation, efforts by employers...

. 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.

Early life


Zinn was born to a Jewish immigrant family in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

. His father, Eddie Zinn, born in Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, emigrated to the U.S. with his brother Samuel before the outbreak of World War I. Howard's mother Jenny Zinn immigrated from the Eastern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n city of Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

.

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
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

 for each of the 20 volumes of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

' collected works. He also studied creative writing at Thomas Jefferson High School
Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn, New York)
Thomas Jefferson High School is a former high school in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York. The New York City Department of Education closed the school and broke it into several different schools in 2007, owing to low graduation rates....

 in a special program established by poet Elias Lieberman.

World War II


Eager to fight fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

, Zinn joined the Army Air Force during World War II and was assigned as a bombardier
Bombardier (air force)
A bombardier , in the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force, or a bomb aimer, in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces, was the crewman of a bomber responsible for assisting the navigator in guiding the plane to a bombing target and releasing the aircraft's bomb...

 in the 490th Bombardment Group
490th Bombardment Group
The 490th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the III Bomber Command, being stationed at Drew Field, Florida. It was inactivated on 7 November 1945....

, bombing targets in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

. The anti-war
Anti-war
An anti-war movement is a social movement, usually in opposition to a particular nation's decision to start or carry on an armed conflict, unconditional of a maybe-existing just cause. The term can also refer to pacifism, which is the opposition to all use of military force during conflicts. Many...

 stance Zinn developed later was informed, in part, by his experiences. A U.S. bombardier in April 1945, Zinn dropped napalm
Napalm
Napalm is a thickening/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon...

 bombs on Royan, a seaside resort in southwestern France.

On a post-doctoral research mission nine years later, Zinn visited the resort near Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

 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
Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

 attack on Royan and also, in the same chapter, to the bombing of Pilsen in what was then Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. The official history stated that the famous Skoda
Škoda Works
Škoda Works was the largest industrial enterprise in Austro-Hungary and later in Czechoslovakia, one of its successor states. It was also one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Europe in the 20th century...

 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."

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. Zinn questioned the justifications for military operations that inflicted massive civilian casualties during the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 bombing of cities such as Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, Royan, Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 during the War in Vietnam, and Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 during the war in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and the civilian casualties during bombings in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 during the current and nearly decade old war there. In his pamphlet, Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence 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
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, 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.

Education


After World War II, Zinn attended New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 on the GI Bill, graduating with a B.A. in 1951 and Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, where he 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
Ludlow massacre
The Ludlow Massacre was an attack by the Colorado National Guard on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914....

. His doctoral dissertation LaGuardia in Congress was a study of Fiorello LaGuardia's congressional career, and it depicted LaGuardia representing "the conscience of the twenties" as LaGuardia fought for public power, the right to strike, and the redistribution of wealth by taxation. "His specific legislative program," Zinn wrote, "was an astonishingly accurate preview of the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

." It was published by the Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 Press for the American Historical Association
American Historical Association
The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States. Founded in 1884, the association promotes historical studies, the teaching of history, and the preservation of and access to historical materials...

. La Guardia in Congress was nominated for the American Historical Association
American Historical Association
The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States. Founded in 1884, the association promotes historical studies, the teaching of history, and the preservation of and access to historical materials...

's Beveridge Prize
Beveridge Award
The Albert J. Beveridge Award was established in 1939 in memory of United States Senator Beveridge of Indiana, former secretary and longtime member of the American Historical Association , through a gift from his wife, Catherine Beveridge and donations from AHA members from his home state...

 as the best English-language book on American history.

While at Columbia, his professors included Harry Carman
Harry Carman
Harry Carman was an American historian. Having attended Syracuse University followed by studies at Columbia, he became a professor at the latter, and served from 1943 to 1950 he served as its Dean. During his tenure as Dean, Carman was a strong supporter of the college within the university,...

, Henry Steele Commager
Henry Steele Commager
Henry Steele Commager was an American historian who helped define Modern liberalism in the United States for two generations through his forty books and 700 essays and reviews...

, and David Donald
David Herbert Donald
- Career :Majoring in history and sociology, Donald earned his bachelor degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He earned his PhD in 1946 under the eminent, leading Lincoln scholar, James G. Randall at the University of Illinois...

. But it was Columbia historian Richard Hofstadter
Richard Hofstadter
Richard Hofstadter was an American public intellectual of the 1950s, a historian and DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University...

's The American Political Tradition
The American Political Tradition
The American Political Tradition is a 1948 book by Richard Hofstadter, an account on the ideology of previous U.S. presidents and other political figures...

 that made the most lasting impression. Zinn regularly included it in his lists of recommended readings, and after Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 was elected President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, 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."

In 1960–61, Zinn was a post-doctoral Fellow in East Asian Studies
East Asian studies
East Asian Studies is a distinct multidisciplinary field of scholarly enquiry and education that promotes a broad humanistic understanding of East Asia past and present...

 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

.

Academic career


Zinn was Professor of History
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 at Spelman College
Spelman College
Spelman College is a four-year liberal arts women's college located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The college is part of the Atlanta University Center academic consortium in Atlanta. Founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, Spelman was the first historically black female...

 in Atlanta, Georgia from 1956 to 1963, and Visiting Professor at both the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 and University of Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

.

In 1964, Zinn accepted a position at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

, after writing two books and participation in the Civil Rights movement in the South. His classes in civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

 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
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, 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
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 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.

Zinn came to believe that the point of view expressed in traditional history books was often limited. He wrote a history textbook, A People's History of the United States
A People's History of the United States
Chapter 7, "As Long As Grass Grows or Water Runs" discusses 19th century conflicts between the U.S. government and Native Americans and Indian removal, especially during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren....

, to provide other perspectives on American history. The textbook depicts the struggles of Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 against European and U.S. conquest and expansion, slaves against slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, unionists and other workers against capitalists, women against patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

, and African-Americans for civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in 1981.

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
Critical pedagogy
Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education described by Henry Giroux as an "educational movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive...

. The New York Times Book Review stated in 2006 that the book "routinely sells more than 100,000 copies a year".

In 2004, Zinn published Voices of A People's History of the United States
Voices of a People's History of the United States
Voices of a People's History of the United States is an anthology edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove. First released in 2004 by Seven Stories Press, Voices is the primary source companion to Zinn's A People's History of the United States...

 with Anthony Arnove
Anthony Arnove
Anthony Arnove is a freelance literary editor, agent and activist based in Brooklyn. He is on the board of directors of Haymarket Books, and is active in the National Writers Union and the International Socialist Organization.- Early life :...

. 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 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 to coordinate the Project. The Project hosts a website that has over 85 free downloadable lesson plans to complement A People's History of the United States.

The People Speak
The People Speak (film)
The People Speak is a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans. The film gives voice to those who, by insisting on equality and justice, spoke up for social change throughout U.S...

, released in 2010, is a documentary movie 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 includes performances by Zinn, Matt Damon
Matt Damon
Matthew Paige "Matt" Damon is an American actor, screenwriter, and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the film Good Will Hunting , from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck...

, Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman is an American actor, film director, aviator and narrator. He is noted for his reserved demeanor and authoritative speaking voice. Freeman has received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus and won...

, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

, Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

, Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder is an American musician and singer-songwriter who is best known for being the lead singer and one of three guitarists of the alternative rock band Pearl Jam. He is widely considered a cultural icon of alternative rock.He is also involved in soundtrack work and contributes to albums...

, Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. is a Danish-American actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter. He made his film debut in Peter Weir's 1985 thriller Witness, and subsequently appeared in many notable films of the 1990s, including The Indian Runner , Carlito's Way , Crimson Tide , Daylight , The...

, Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin
Josh James Brolin is an American actor. He has acted in theater, film and television roles since 1985, and won acting awards for his roles in the films W., No Country for Old Men, Milk and True Grit.-Early life:...

, Danny Glover
Danny Glover
Danny Lebern Glover is an American actor, film director, and political activist. Glover is perhaps best known for his role as Detective Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film franchise.-Early life:...

, Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei is an American stage, film and television actress. Following her work on As The World Turns, Tomei came to prominence as a supporting cast member on The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World in 1987...

, Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle
Donald Frank "Don" Cheadle, Jr. is an American film actor and producer. Cheadle rose to prominence in the late 1990s and the early 2000s for his supporting roles in the Steven Soderbergh-directed films Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean's Eleven...

, and Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh is a Canadian actress. She is best known for the role of Dr. Cristina Yang on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, for which she has won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award. She also played notable roles in the feature films Under the Tuscan Sun and Sideways, and had a supporting role on the...

.

Civil Rights movement


From 1956 through 1963, Zinn chaired the department of history and social sciences at Spelman College
Spelman College
Spelman College is a four-year liberal arts women's college located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The college is part of the Atlanta University Center academic consortium in Atlanta. Founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, Spelman was the first historically black female...

. He participated in the Civil Rights movement and lobbied with historian August Meier "to end the practice of the Southern Historical Association
Southern Historical Association
The Southern Historical Association is an organization of historians focusing on the history of the Southern United States . It was organized on November 2, 1934...

 of holding meetings at segregated
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 hotels".

While at Spelman, Zinn served as an adviser to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee ' was one of the principal organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It emerged from a series of student meetings led by Ella Baker held at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina in April 1960...

 (SNCC) and in 1964, Beacon Press
Beacon Press
Beacon Press is an American non-profit book publisher. Founded in 1854 by the American Unitarian Association, it is currently a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association.Beacon Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses....

 published his book SNCC: The New Abolitionists. Zinn collaborated with historian Staughton Lynd
Staughton Lynd
Staughton Craig Lynd is an American conscientious objector, Quaker, peace activist and civil rights activist, tax resister, historian, professor, author and lawyer. His involvement in social justice causes has brought him into contact with some of the nation's most influential activists, including...

 mentoring student activists, among them Alice Walker
Alice Walker
Alice Malsenior Walker is an American author, poet, and activist. She has written both fiction and essays about race and gender...

, who would later write The Color Purple
The Color Purple
The Color Purple is an acclaimed 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker. It received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction...

, and Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman is an American activist for the rights of children. She is president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund.-Early years:...

, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund
Children's Defense Fund
The Children's Defense Fund is an American child advocacy and research group, founded in 1973 by Marian Wright Edelman. Its motto Leave No Child Behind reflects its mission to advocate on behalf of children...

. 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
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 state legislature.

Although Zinn was a tenured professor, he was dismissed in June 1963, after siding with students in the struggle against segregation. As Zinn described 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."

While living in Georgia, Zinn wrote that he observed 30 violations of the First
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 and Fourteenth
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

 amendments to the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 in Albany, Georgia
Albany, Georgia
Albany is a city in and the county seat of Dougherty County, Georgia, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. It is the principal city of the Albany, Georgia metropolitan area and the southwest part of the state. The population was 77,434 at the 2010 U.S. Census, making it the...

, including the rights to freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

, freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests...

 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
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 to enforce the law. Zinn has also pointed out that the Justice Department
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 under Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

, headed by J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

, did little or nothing to stop the segregationists from brutalizing civil rights workers.

Zinn wrote about the struggle for civil rights, both as participant and historian. His second book, The Southern Mystique 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 gave the commencement address 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."

Anti-war efforts


Zinn wrote one of the earliest books calling for the U.S. withdrawal from its war in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was published by Beacon Press in 1967 based on his articles in Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

, The Nation
The Nation
The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. The periodical, devoted to politics and culture, is self-described as "the flagship of the left." Founded on July 6, 1865, It is published by The Nation Company, L.P., at 33 Irving Place, New York City.The Nation...

, and Ramparts
Ramparts (magazine)
Ramparts was an American political and literary magazine, published from 1962 through 1975.-History:Founded by Edward M. Keating as a Catholic literary quarterly, the magazine became closely associated with the New Left after executive editor Warren Hinckle hired Robert Scheer as managing editor...

.

In Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

'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
Ramparts (magazine)
Ramparts was an American political and literary magazine, published from 1962 through 1975.-History:Founded by Edward M. Keating as a Catholic literary quarterly, the magazine became closely associated with the New Left after executive editor Warren Hinckle hired Robert Scheer as managing editor...

 just so that people would know about the book."

In December 1969, radical historians tried unsuccessfully to persuade the American Historical Association
American Historical Association
The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States. Founded in 1884, the association promotes historical studies, the teaching of history, and the preservation of and access to historical materials...

 to pass an anti-Vietnam War resolution. "A debacle unfolded as Harvard
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 historian (and AHA president in 1968) John Fairbank
John K. Fairbank
John King Fairbank , was a prominent American academic and historian of China.-Education and early career:...

 literally wrestled the microphone from Zinn's hands." 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".

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

Vietnam


Zinn's diplomatic visit to Hanoi with Rev. Daniel Berrigan
Daniel Berrigan
Daniel Berrigan, SJ is an American Catholic priest, peace activist, and poet. Daniel and his brother Philip were for a time on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for their involvement in antiwar protests during the Vietnam war....

, 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. Zinn and the Berrigan brothers, Dan and Philip
Philip Berrigan
Philip Francis Berrigan was an internationally renowned American peace activist, Christian anarchist and former Roman Catholic priest...

, 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.

Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg, PhD, is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War,...

, a former RAND
RAND
RAND Corporation is a nonprofit global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces by Douglas Aircraft Company. It is currently financed by the U.S. government and private endowment, corporations including the healthcare industry, universities...

 consultant who had secretly copied The Pentagon Papers, which described the internal planning and policy decisions of the United States government during the Vietnam War, gave a copy of them to Howard and Roslyn Zinn. Along with Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

, Zinn edited and annotated the copy of The Pentagon Papers that Ellsberg entrusted to him. Zinn's longtime publisher, Beacon Press, published what has come to be known as the Senator Mike Gravel
Mike Gravel
Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election....

 edition of The Pentagon Papers, four volumes plus a fifth volume with analysis by Chomsky and Zinn.

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 called Zinn as an expert witness to explain to the jury the history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam from World War II to 1963. Zinn discussed that history for several hours, later reflecting 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," Zinn wrote in his autobiography. Most of the jurors later said that they voted for acquittal. [p. 161] However, the federal judge dismissed the case on the ground that it had been tainted by the Nixon administration's burglary of the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

Zinn's testimony as to the motivation for government secrecy was confirmed in 1989 by Erwin Griswold
Erwin Griswold
Erwin Nathaniel Griswold was an appellate attorney who argued many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Griswold served as Solicitor General of the United States under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. He also served as Dean of Harvard Law School for 21 years. Several times he...

, who as U.S. solicitor general during the Nixon administration, prosecuted The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971. 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
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 to the U.S. Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. The papers were simultaneously published in The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, effectively nulling the effect of the prior restraint order. In 1989, Griswold admitted that there was no national security damage resulting from the publication of the papers. 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
Unfinished Symphony
Unfinished Symphony is a 59-minute documentary film about a protest against the Vietnam War divided into three sections, mirroring the movements of Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3, the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, to which the film is set...

, Zinn provides a historical context for the 1971 antiwar march by Vietnam Veterans against the War
Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Vietnam Veterans Against the War is a tax-exempt non-profit organization and corporation, originally created to oppose the Vietnam War. VVAW describes itself as a national veterans' organization that campaigns for peace, justice, and the rights of all United States military veterans...

. The marchers traveled from Lexington
Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 31,399 at the 2010 census. This town is famous for being the site of the first shot of the American Revolution, in the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775.- History :...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, to Bunker Hill
Battle of Bunker Hill
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775, mostly on and around Breed's Hill, during the Siege of Boston early in the American Revolutionary War...

, "which retraced Paul Revere
Paul Revere
Paul Revere was an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution. He is most famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride...

'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, during which former G.I.s testified, with little to no actual evidence, about "atrocities" they either participated in or said they had witnessed committed by U.S. forces in Vietnam.

Iraq


Zinn opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq and wrote several books about it. He asserted that the U.S. would end its war with an occupation of Iraq when resistance within the military increased in the same way resistance within the military contributed to ending the U.S. war in Vietnam. He 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." Zinn argued that "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable".

Jean-Christophe Agnew, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

, told the Yale Daily News
Yale Daily News
The Yale Daily News is an independent student newspaper published by Yale University students in New Haven, Connecticut since January 28, 1878...

 in May 2007 that Zinn’s historical work is "highly influential and widely used". 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
American Historical Association
The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States. Founded in 1884, the association promotes historical studies, the teaching of history, and the preservation of and access to historical materials...

. Agnew added: "In these moments of crisis, when the country is split—so historians are split".

Socialism


Zinn described himself as "Something of an anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, something of a socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

. Maybe a democratic socialist
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

", 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
Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison....

 in 2009, Zinn said:

FBI files


Due to a Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act (United States)
The Freedom of Information Act is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure...

 (FOIA) request, on July 30, 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) released a file with 423 pages of information on Howard Zinn’s life and activities. During the height of McCarthyism
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

 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). 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.

Later in the 1960s, as a result of Zinn’s campaigning against the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 and his influence on Martin Luther King, 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
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

 were to be declared. 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".

Death


Zinn was swimming in a hotel pool when he died of an apparent heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 in Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, US. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los Angeles — Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles on the northeast, Mar Vista on the east, and...

 on 27 January, 2010. He had been scheduled to speak at the Santa Monica Museum of Art
Santa Monica Museum of Art
The Santa Monica Museum of Art is an independent non-collecting art museum located in Santa Monica, California. It exhibits the work of local, national, and international contemporary artists....

 for an event titled "A Collection of Ideas... the People Speak
The People Speak
The People Speak is an online community of young people who want to get involved in global issues. The community engages people of all ages and backgrounds in thoughtful discussions about the value of international cooperation for the United States and the world. From September 1 to November 30...

."

In one of his last interviews
he said he'd 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".

Notable recognition

  • 2008 Howard Zinn was selected as a special senior advisor to Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, the President of the United Nations General Assembly
    President of the United Nations General Assembly
    The President of the United Nations General Assembly is a position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly on a yearly basis.- Election :...

     63rd session.

  • Established while he was alive by school teachers, 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


For his leadership in the Peace Movement, Zinn received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in 1996. He received the Thomas Merton Award
Thomas Merton Award
The Thomas Merton Award has been awarded since 1972 by the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Social Justice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. It is named after Thomas Merton and is given annually to "national and international individuals struggling for justice."-Award recipients:The Thomas Merton...

 and, in 1998, the Eugene V. Debs
Eugene V. Debs
Eugene Victor Debs was an American union leader, one of the founding members of the International Labor Union and the Industrial Workers of the World , and several times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States...

 Award. In 1998, he won the Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction and the following year won the Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair
Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. , was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle . It exposed conditions in the U.S...

 Award, which honors social activism. In 2003, Zinn was awarded the Prix des Amis du Monde diplomatique 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
Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison....

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

.

Author

  • LaGuardia in Congress (1959) ISBN 0-8371-6434-6, ISBN 0-393-00488-0.
  • The Southern Mystique (1962) ISBN 0-89608-680-1.
  • SNCC: The New Abolitionists (1964) ISBN 0-89608-679-8.
  • New Deal Thought (editor) (1965) ISBN 0-87220-685-8.
  • Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal (1967) ISBN 0-89608-681-X.
  • Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies on Law and Order (1968, re-issued 2002) ISBN 0-89608-675-5.
  • The Politics of History (1970) (2nd edition 1990) ISBN 0-252-06122-5.
  • The Pentagon Papers Senator Gravel Edition. Vol. Five. Critical Essays. Boston. Beacon Press, 1972. 341p. plus 72p. of Index to Vol. I–IV of the Papers, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, editors.
  • Postwar America: 1945–1971 (1973) ISBN 0-89608-678-X.
  • Justice in Everyday Life: The Way It Really Works (Editor) (1974) ISBN 0-89608-677-1.
  • Justice? Eyewitness Accounts (1977) ISBN 0-8070-4479-2.
  • A People's History of the United States
    A People's History of the United States
    Chapter 7, "As Long As Grass Grows or Water Runs" discusses 19th century conflicts between the U.S. government and Native Americans and Indian removal, especially during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren....

    : 1492 – Present (1980), revised (1995)(1998)(1999)(2003)(2004)(2005)(2010) ISBN 0-06-052837-0.
  • Playbook by Maxine Klein, Lydia Sargent
    Lydia Sargent
    Lydia Sargent is a longtime radical American feminist. She is a writer, author, playwright, and actor. She was a founder and original member of the South End Press Collective. She organizes the Z Communications Institute every year as well as teaching classes there...

     and Howard Zinn (1986) ISBN 0-89608-309-8.
  • Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1991) ISBN 0-06-092108-0.
  • A People's History of the United States: The Civil War to the Present Kathy Emery and Ellen Reeves, Howard Zinn (2003 teaching edition) ISBN 1-56584-725-3.
  • Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian (1993) ISBN 0-89608-676-3.
  • You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times (1994) ISBN 0-8070-7127-7
  • A People's History of the United States: The Wall Charts by Howard Zinn and George Kirschner (1995) ISBN 1-56584-171-9.
  • Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence (pamphlet, 1995) ISBN 1-884519-14-8.
  • The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy (1997) ISBN 1-888363-54-1; 2nd edition (2009) ISBN 978-1-58322-870-8.
  • The Cold War & the University: Toward an Intellectual History of the Postwar Years (Noam Chomsky
    Noam Chomsky
    Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

     (Editor) Authors: Ira Katznelson
    Ira Katznelson
    Ira Katznelson is a leading American political scientist and historian, noted for his influential research on the liberal state, inequality, social knowledge, and institutions, primarily focused on the United States....

    , R. C. Lewontin, David Montgomery, Laura Nader
    Laura Nader
    Laura Nader is an American anthropologist.She has been a Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley since 1960. She received a BA in Latin American Studies from Wells College in Aurora, NY in 1952. She received her Ph.D...

    , Richard Ohmann, Ray Siever, Immanuel Wallerstein
    Immanuel Wallerstein
    Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein is a US sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst...

    , Howard Zinn (1997) ISBN 1-56584-005-4.
  • Marx in Soho: A Play on History
    Marx in Soho
    Marx in Soho, written in 1999 by historian Howard Zinn , is a one-man play on the life of Karl Marx. Zinn stated that he wrote the play to "show Marx as few people knew him, as a family man, struggling to support his wife and children."...

     (1999) ISBN 0-89608-593-7.
  • The Future of History: Interviews With David Barsamian (1999) ISBN 1-56751-157-0.
  • Howard Zinn on War (2000) ISBN 1-58322-049-6.
  • Howard Zinn on History (2000) ISBN 1-58322-048-8.
  • La Otra Historia De Los Estados Unidos (2000) ISBN 1-58322-054-2.
  • Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor's Last Century (Dana Frank, Robin Kelley, and Howard Zinn) (2002) ISBN 0-8070-5013-X.
  • Terrorism and War (2002) ISBN 1-58322-493-9 (interviews, Anthony Arnove (Ed.))
  • The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace Editor (2002) ISBN 0-8070-1407-9.
  • Emma: A Play in Two Acts About Emma Goldman, American Anarchist (2002) ISBN 0-89608-664-X.
  • Artists in Times of War (2003) ISBN 1-58322-602-8.
  • The Twentieth Century: A People's History (2003) ISBN 0-06-053034-0.
  • A People's History of the United States: Teaching Edition Abridged (2003 updated) ISBN 1-56584-826-8.
  • Passionate Declarations: Essays on War and Justice (2003) ISBN 0-06-055767-2.
  • Howard Zinn On Democratic Education Donaldo Macedo
    Donaldo Macedo
    Donaldo Macedo is a Cape Verdean-American critical theorist, linguist, and expert on literacy and education studies. Macedo is professor of English and a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston...

    , Editor (2004) ISBN 1-59451-054-7.
  • The People Speak: American Voices, Some Famous, Some Little Known (2004) ISBN 0-06-057826-2.
  • Voices of a People’s History of the United States (with Anthony Arnove
    Anthony Arnove
    Anthony Arnove is a freelance literary editor, agent and activist based in Brooklyn. He is on the board of directors of Haymarket Books, and is active in the National Writers Union and the International Socialist Organization.- Early life :...

    , 2004) ISBN 1-58322-647-8; 2nd edition (2009) ISBN 978-1-58322-916-3.
  • A People's History of the Civil War: Struggles for the Meaning of Freedom by David Williams, Howard Zinn (Series Editor) (2005) ISBN 1-59558-018-2.
  • A Power Governments Cannot Suppress (2006) ISBN 978-0-87286-475-7.
  • Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics (2006) Howard Zinn and David Barsamian.
  • A People's History of American Empire
    A People's History of American Empire
    A People's History of American Empire is a 2008 graphic history by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki, and Paul Buhle. The book combines material from Zinn's history book A People's History of the United States and his autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train with new material from other...

     (2008) by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle
    Paul Buhle
    Paul Merlyn Buhle is a Senior Lecturer at Brown University, author or editor of 35 volumes including histories of radicalism in the United States and the Caribbean, studies of popular culture, and a series of nonfiction comic art volumes. He is the authorized biographer of C. L. R...

    . ISBN 978-0-8050-8744-4.
  • A Young People's History of the United States, adapted from the original text by Rebecca Stefoff; illustrated and updated through 2006, with new introduction and afterword by Howard Zinn; two volumes, Seven Stories Press
    Seven Stories Press
    Seven Stories Press is an independent publishing company. Located in New York City, the company was founded by editor Dan Simon in 1995 after he parted company with Four Walls Eight Windows. The company was named for its seven founding authors: Annie Ernaux, Gary Null, the estate of Nelson Algren,...

    , New York, 2007.
    • Vol. 1: Columbus to the Spanish-American War. ISBN 978-1-58322-759-6.
    • Vol. 2: Class Struggle to the War on Terror. ISBN 978-1-58322-760-2.
    • One-volume edition (2009) ISBN 978-1-58322-869-2.
  • The Bomb (City Lights Publishers
    City Lights Bookstore
    City Lights is an independent bookstore-publisher combination that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics. It also houses the nonprofit City Lights Foundation, which publishes selected titles related to San Francisco culture. It was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence...

    , 2010) ISBN 978-0-87286-509-9
  • The Historic Unfulfilled Promise (City Lights Publishers, 2012) ISBN 978-0-87286-555-6

Contributor

  • Admirable Radical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War Dissent, 1945–1970 (2010), Kent State University Press by Carl Mirra ISBN 978-1-60635-051-5
  • A Gigantic Mistake by Mickey Z
    Mickey Z
    Michael Zezima is a writer, editor, blogger and novelist living in New York City. He writes a bimonthly column, "Mickey Z. Says", for VegNews magazine and he has also appeared on the C-SPAN network's Book TV program...

    , (2004) ISBN 1-930997-97-3.
  • A People's History of the Supreme Court by Peter H. Irons
    Peter H. Irons
    Peter H. Irons is an American political activist, civil rights attorney, legal scholar, and professor of political science. Irons is a graduate of Antioch College, an early incubator of progressive politics after World War II...

     (2000) ISBN 0-14-029201-2.
  • A Political Dynasty In North Idaho, 1933–1967 by Randall Doyle (2004) ISBN 0-7618-2843-5.
  • American Political Prisoners: Prosecutions Under the Espionage and Sedition Acts by Stephen M. Kohn
    Stephen M. Kohn
    Stephen M. Kohn is an attorney for Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, a Washington, D.C., law firm specializing in employment law. The author of the first legal treatise on whistleblowing, Kohn is recognized as one of the top experts in whistleblower protection law...

     (1994) ISBN 0-275-94415-8.
  • American Power and the New Mandarins by Noam Chomsky
    Noam Chomsky
    Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

     (2002) ISBN 1-56584-775-X.
  • Broken Promises Of America: At Home And Abroad, Past And Present: An Encyclopedia For Our Times by (Douglas F. Dowd (2004) ISBN 1-56751-313-1.
  • Deserter From Death: Dispatches From Western Europe 1950-2000 by Daniel Singer (2005) ISBN 1-56025-642-7.
  • Ecocide of Native America: Environmental Destruction of Indian Lands and Peoples by Donald Grinde, Bruce Johansen (1994) ISBN 0-940666-52-9.
  • Eugene V. Debs Reader: Socialism and the Class Struggle by William A. Pelz (2000) ISBN 0-9704669-0-0.
  • From a Native Son: Selected Essays in Indigenism, 1985–1995 by Ward Churchill
    Ward Churchill
    Ward LeRoy Churchill is an author and political activist. He was a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1990 to 2007. The primary focus of his work is on the historical treatment of political dissenters and Native Americans by the United States government...

     (1996) ISBN 0-89608-553-8.
  • Green Parrots: A War Surgeon's Diary by Gino Strada
    Gino Strada
    Gino Strada is an Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency. Emergency has operated in thirteen war-torn countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and the Central African Republic.- Biography :Dr...

    , (2005) ISBN 88-8158-420-4.
  • Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear And The Selling Of American Empire by Sut Jhally
    Sut Jhally
    Satvinder "Sut" Jhally , is a professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is one of the world’s leading experts on cultural studies, advertising, media, and consumption. He is the producer of 40+ documentaries on media literacy topics and the founder and executive...

     editor, Jeremy Earp editor, (2004) ISBN 1-56656-581-2.
  • If You're Not a Terrorist…Then Stop Asking Questions! by Micah Ian Wright, (2004) ISBN 1-58322-626-5.
  • Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal by Anthony Arnove
    Anthony Arnove
    Anthony Arnove is a freelance literary editor, agent and activist based in Brooklyn. He is on the board of directors of Haymarket Books, and is active in the National Writers Union and the International Socialist Organization.- Early life :...

    , (2006) ISBN 978-1-59558-079-5.
  • Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney Dennis Loo (Editor), Peter Phillips (Editor) Seven Stories Press: 2006) ISBN 1-58322-743-1.
  • Life of an Anarchist: The Alexander Berkman Reader by Alexander Berkman
    Alexander Berkman
    Alexander Berkman was an anarchist known for his political activism and writing. He was a leading member of the anarchist movement in the early 20th century....

     Gene Fellner, editor, (2004) ISBN 1-58322-662-1.
  • Long Shadows: Veterans' Paths to Peace by David Giffey editor, (2006) ISBN 1-89185-964-9.
  • Masters of War: Latin America and United States Aggression from the Cuban Revolution Through the Clinton Years by Clara Nieto, Chris Brandt (trans) (2003) ISBN 1-58322-545-5.
  • Peace Signs: The Anti-War Movement Illustrated by James Mann, editor (2004) ISBN 3-283-00487-0.
  • Prayer for the Morning Headlines: On the Sanctity of Life and Death by Daniel Berrigan
    Daniel Berrigan
    Daniel Berrigan, SJ is an American Catholic priest, peace activist, and poet. Daniel and his brother Philip were for a time on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for their involvement in antiwar protests during the Vietnam war....

     (poetry) and Adrianna Amari (photography), (2007) ISBN 978-1-934074-16-9.
  • Silencing Political Dissent: How Post-9-11 Anti-terrorism Measures Threaten Our Civil Liberties by Nancy Chang, Center for Constitutional Rights
    Center for Constitutional Rights
    Al Odah v. United States:Al Odah is the latest in a series of habeas corpus petitions on behalf of people imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The case challenges the Military Commissions system’s suitability as a habeas corpus substitute and the legality, in general, of detention at...

     (2002) ISBN 1-58322-494-7.
  • Soldiers In Revolt: GI Resistance During The Vietnam War by David Cortright
    David Cortright
    David Cortright is an American scholar and peace activist. He is Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and Chair of the Board of the Fourth Freedom Forum....

    , (2005) ISBN 1-931859-27-2.
  • Sold to the Highest Bidder: The Presidency from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush by Daniel M. Friedenberg (2002) ISBN 1-57392-923-9.
  • The Autobiography of Abbie Hoffman Intro by Norman Mailer
    Norman Mailer
    Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S...

    , Afterword by HZ (2000) ISBN 1-56858-197-1.
  • The Case for Socialism by Alan Maass, (2004) ISBN 1-931859-09-4.
  • The Forging of the American Empire: From the Revolution to Vietnam, a History of U.S. Imperialism by Sidney Lens
    Sidney Lens
    Sidney Lens , also known by his party name Sid Okun, was an American labor leader, political activist, and author, best known for his book, The Day Before Doomsday, which warns of the prospect of nuclear annihilation, published in 1977 by Doubleday. He also wrote a history of U.S...

     (2003) ISBN 0-7453-2101-1.
  • The Higher Law: Thoreau on Civil Disobedience and Reform by Henry David Thoreau
    Henry David Thoreau
    Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

    , Wendell Glick, editor, (2004) ISBN 0-691-11876-0.
  • The Iron Heel by Jack London
    Jack London
    John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone...

    , (1971) ISBN 0-14-303971-7.
  • The Sixties Experience: Hard Lessons about Modern America by Edward P. Morgan
    Edward P. Morgan
    Edward Paddock Morgan was an American journalist and writer who reported for newspapers, radio, and television media services including ABC, CBS networks, and Public Broadcasting Service Public television....

    , (1992) ISBN 1-56639-014-1.
  • You Back the Attack, We'll Bomb Who We Want by Micah Ian Wright, (2003) ISBN 1-58322-584-6.
  • A People's History of the American Revolution by Ray Raphael
    Ray Raphael
    Ray Raphael is an American historian and author of fourteen books. He is noted for his work on the American Revolution and the regional history of Northern California.-Books: The American Revolution and the Founding Era:...

    , (2002) ISBN 0-06-000440-1 Howard Zinn Foreword for New Press People's History Series.

Recordings

  • 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)

Theatre

  • Emma
    Emma (play)
    Emma is a play by historian and playwright Howard Zinn . It was first performed in 1976....

     (1976)
  • Daughter of Venus
    Daughter of Venus
    Daughter of Venus is a play written by historian Howard Zinn . The drama, which was first published in 1985, debuted at New York's Theater for the New City, directed by the author's son Jeff Zinn. It was later produced at Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theater in Westport, Connecticut...

     (1985)
  • Marx in Soho
    Marx in Soho
    Marx in Soho, written in 1999 by historian Howard Zinn , is a one-man play on the life of Karl Marx. Zinn stated that he wrote the play to "show Marx as few people knew him, as a family man, struggling to support his wife and children."...

     (1999)

Biographies

  • Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller, Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (film 2004)
  • Davis D. Joyce, Howard Zinn: A Radical American Vision (Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books is a publishing company founded in August 1969 by Paul Kurtz, who also founded the Council for Secular Humanism and co-founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is currently the chairman of all three organizations. Prometheus Books publishes a range of books, including many...

    , 2003), ISBN 1-59102-131-6
  • Gagliano Giuseppe, L'intellettuale in rivolta.L'antagonismo politico attraverso le riflessioni di Zinn,Buber,Comsky (Editrice Uniservice, 2010), ISBN 9788861786523

See also

  • A People's History of American Empire
    A People's History of American Empire
    A People's History of American Empire is a 2008 graphic history by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki, and Paul Buhle. The book combines material from Zinn's history book A People's History of the United States and his autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train with new material from other...

  • A People's History of the United States
    A People's History of the United States
    Chapter 7, "As Long As Grass Grows or Water Runs" discusses 19th century conflicts between the U.S. government and Native Americans and Indian removal, especially during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren....



External links




Interviews

Obituaries

Videos