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 classes with Howard at BU in 1987 and 1988. He taught in a very large movie theater. It was always packed. People came from across the ideological spectrum to listen, rapt, to the greatest teacher I have ever known. People stood in the back row and sat in the aisles. Students felt free to take him on; he welcomed it. There was complete freedom of speech.
After class, long lines would wait for a word with him. On several occasions, I had the pleasure of waiting to walk back to his office with him.
I recall one day where the weight of these new facts and ideas was bearing down on me. I asked him if he ever thought of moving to Canada. He told me about why he and Roz decided this was a country worth fighting for and that the victories over the years, slow and hard won, were on the books because we people spoke out, marched, got arrested, and practiced politics.
I loved that man. He changed me forever. His wonderful play about Emma Goldman opened in London the summer of 1987 and I was there on an internship. We saw opening night and sat with Howard, Roz, and the cast after the play. I was beyond delighted to share that moment.
Dr. Stuart W. Shulman (@stuartwshulman) is a scholar, inventor, entrepreneur, D-level soccer coach, proud dad/son, vice president for text analytics at Vision Critical, and a Taoist garlic grower.
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.