HOWARD ZINN 1922–2010

Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922–January 27, 2010) was a historian, author, professor, playwright, and activist.

Howard Zinn speaking at a peace rally • Date unknown


Zinn was a historian, playwright, and activist. His life’s work focused on a wide range of issues including race, class, war, and history, and touched the lives of many people.

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Howard Zinn on the telephone • Photo by Paul Alan Smith • Date unknown

Articles & Interviews

In addition to writing books, Zinn wrote articles, had several columns, and participated in numerous interviews. Many of these are available here in print, audio, and video.

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Howard Zinn at his typerwriter • Estate of Howard Zinn • Late 1970s


Zinn was the author of many books, including A People's History of the United States, SNCC: The New Abolitionists, the play Emma, and his autobiography You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.

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Featured News

The Ludlow Massacre of 1914

On April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard attacked a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado. Zinn had a history PhD but only learned this story when “I heard a song by Woody Guthrie called ‘The Ludlow Massacre.’ Dark, haughting, powerful song. And that led me to look in a library about this event which nobody had ever mentioned in any of my history courses, which no textbook of mine had ever mentioned.”

“Secrecy, Archives, and the Public Interest”

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Howard Zinn (1922-2010), the Midwestern Archivist granted rights to publish “Secrecy, Archives, and the Public Interest" (1977). Influential still today, Zinn urges archivists to “One, engage in a campaign to open all government documents to the public. . . . And two, that they take the trouble to compile a whole new world of documentary material, about the lives, desires, needs, of ordinary people.”
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