Sarah Kain

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.


Sarah Kain’s Reflections

Not only did I have Howard as a professor in 1981, with dittos of his book A People’s History, I was fortunate to see Howard in a First Amendments Rights Spoken reading in Wellfleet, Mass., several years ago.

After the First Amendment rights readings I approached Howard and told him I was his student in 1981. He said that he remembered me . . . what an honor.

I will never forget when Howard told us he was in WWII and that he revisited the annihilation in Germany and how that changed his mind about any war.

Also of equal importance to me was how he questioned my reaction to tuition hikes by BU’s president in the 1980s. He asked us if we were going to hit the streets or not!

He also offered community service option for a grade. As I was a bit lazy I wrote two papers instead.


Sarah graduated from SUNY Stony Brook and is now a New York City public school teacher of history, co-teaching students with disabilities in an integrated co-teaching setting. “I believe Howard’s influence lives through the learning relationships I foster while teaching: Question authority, be an upstander not a bystander (from Facing History and Ourselves).”


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.