Philip Read

Our Favorite Teacher Series

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.


Philip Read’s Reflections

I was always interested in politics, coming of age amid the Kennedy assassinations and the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and was a 17-year-old volunteer for George McGovern in 1972, before I started at Boston University. I took Howard Zinn’s political science course in my junior year and will never forget the sincere story of his political transformation while a bombardier targeting civilian sites over Nazi Germany. It was so genuine.

I ultimately embarked on a career in journalism (after a long stint at The Freep; that’s me, second from right, as a managing editor with the rest of the editors). Not many years ago, Zinn was the speaker at Montclair High School in New Jersey, telling those same stories to a new generation. I was covering it (I assigned myself) for New Jersey’s largest newspaper and got to meet him anew backstage. He didn’t seem to have changed a bit. Truly, a remarkable man whose faith in his message never wavered and rightly so.

The editorial staff of the Daily Free Press, Boston University’s independent student newspaper, called “The Freep.”


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.