Howard Zinn taught at Spelman College and Boston University where he had an extraordinary influence on his students’ understanding of history and their role in the world. The “Howard Zinn: Our Favorite Teacher” series highlights Zinn’s lasting impact as a professor.
I took every class Howard offered from 1970-1972 at Boston University. People lined up to get into his classes. He was so popular because he didn’t speak down to students, and he had such a wry and funny sense of humor. Even though the material he was covering was often dark and sad, he was able to present it in a way that you could still walk away feeling good about life.
He MADE my college experience there. And he was no armchair intellectual—far from it. He helped our small group, the Mayflower Society 🙂 , to put together our part of the May Day demonstrations in D.C. that shut the government down over the war. He attended meetings, worked hard to make it a success, which it was. He opened my mind to a different way of looking at American history and I’ve turned so many people on to his books and his perspective. He was such a valuable figure to us on the left and to progressive peoples everywhere with his writing and speaking.
Years later I was fortunate enough to meet him again with Anthony Arnove at a reading at a Northeast college of Voices of a People’s History of the United States, and he was just as welcoming, cordial and unassuming as ever. A modest giant among men, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to study closely with him!
Liz Randol is currently living in the green, progressive community of Olympia, Washington, doing a unique form of Shamanic Healing (since 1988) between Oly and Marin County, CA (www.spiritpath-healing.com). Randol also notes, “I am a working member at my neighborhood coop and volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter. Also working for Bernie—Go Bernie!”
Howard Zinn taught at Spelman College and Boston University where he had an extraordinary influence on his students’ understanding of history and their role in the world. This series highlights Zinn’s lasting impact as a professor. Read more stories and submit your own.