Bill Bigelow in Common Dreams:
January 27th marks the 10th anniversary of the death of the great historian and activist Howard Zinn. Zinn did not merely record history, he made it: as a professor at Spelman College in the 1950s and early 1960s, where he was ultimately fired for his outspoken support of students in the Civil Rights Movement, and specifically the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); as a critic of the U.S. war in Vietnam, and author of the first book calling for an immediate U.S. withdrawal; and as author of arguably the most influential U.S. history textbook in print, A People’s History of the United States. “That book will knock you on your ass,” as Matt Damon’s character says in the film Good Will Hunting.
It’s always worth dipping into the vast archive of Zinn scholarship, but as the United States flirts with another war in the Middle East, as the presidential campaign raises fundamental questions about the kind of country we will become, and as the world confronts a potentially catastrophic environmental crisis, now is an especially good time to remember some of Howard Zinn’s wisdom.