Voices of a People's History, 10th Anniversary Edition

Voices of a People’s History of the United States

Voices of a People’s History is the companion volume to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. For Voices, Zinn and Anthony Arnove selected testimonies to living history—speeches, letters, poems, songs—left by the people who make history happen but who usually are left out of history books. Zinn has written short introductions to the texts, which range in length from letters or poems of less than a page to entire speeches and essays that run several pages. Voices of a People’s History is a symphony of our nation’s original voices, rich in ideas and actions, the embodiment of the power of civil disobedience and dissent wherein lies our nation’s true spirit of defiance and resilience.

Here in their own words are Frederick Douglass, George Jackson, Chief Joseph, Martin Luther King Jr., Plough Jogger, Sacco and Vanzetti, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Mark Twain, Paul Robeson, Cesar Chavez, Leonard Peltier, June Jordan, Walter Mosley, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, and Malcolm X, to name just a few of the hundreds of voices that appear in Voices of a People’s History of the United States, edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.

The 10th anniversary edition will feature new voices including whistleblower Chelsea Manning; Naomi Klein, speaking from the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Liberty Square; a member of Dream Defenders, a youth organization that confronts systemic racial inequality; members of the undocumented youth movement, who occupied, marched, and demonstrated in support of the DREAM Act; a member of the day laborers movement; and several critics of the Obama administration, including Glenn Greenwald, on governmental secrecy. [Publisher’s description.]

 

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Table of Contents

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 19

INTRODUCTION 23

CHAPTER 1: COLUMBUS AND LAS CASAS….29

The Diario of Christopher Columbus (October 11-15, 1492)….30

Bartolome de Las Casas, Two Readings on the Legacy of Columbus (1542 and 1550)

  • Bartolome de Las Casas, The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account (1542)….33
  • Bartolome de Las Casas, In Defense of the Indians (1550)….42

Eduardo Galeano, Memory of Fire (1982)….45

CHAPTER 2: THE FIRST SLAVES….51

Three Documents on Slave Revolts (1720 to 1793)

  • Anonymous Letter to Mr. Boone in London (June 24, 1720)….52
  • Letter from Petersburg, Virginia (May 17, 1792)….52
  • Secret Keeper Richmond (Unknown) to Secret Keeper Norfolk (Unknown) (1793)….53

Four Petitions Against Slavery (1773 to 1777)

  • “Felix” (Unknown)….Slave Petition for Freedom (January 6, 1773)….54
  • Peter Bestes and Other Slaves Petition for Freedom (April 20, 1773)….55
  • “Petition of a Grate Number of Blackes” to Thomas Gage (May 25, 1774)….56
  • “Petition of a Great Number of Negroes” to the Massachusetts House of Representatives (January 13, 1777)….57

Benjamin Banneker, Letter to Thomas Jefferson (August 19, 1791)….58

CHAPTER 3: SERVITUDE AND REBELLION….63

Richard Frethorne on Indentured Servitude (March 20-April 3, 1623)….64

A True Narrative of the Rise , Progresse y and Cessation of the Late Rebellion in Virginia, Most Humbly and Impartially Reported by His Majesty es Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Affaires of the Said Colony (1677)….66

Proclamation of the New Hampshire Legislature on the Mast Tree Riot (1734)….69

Letter Written by William Shirley to the Lords of Trade about the Knowles Riot (December 1, 1747)….69

Gottlieb Mittelberger, Gottlieb Mittelbergers Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the Year 1754 (1734)….72

Account of the New York Tenant Riots (July 14, 1766)….76

CHAPTER 4: PREPARING THE REVOLUTION….79

Thomas Hutchinson Recounts the Reaction to the Stamp Act in Boston (1765)….80

Samuel Drowne’s Testimony on the Boston Massacre (March 16, 1770)….82

George Hewes Recalls the Boston Tea Party (1834)….83

New York Mechanics Declaration of Independence (May 29, 1776)….86

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)….87

CHAPTER 5: HALF A REVOLUTION….93

Joseph Clarke s Letter about the Rebellion in Springfield (August 30, 1774)….94

Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier (1830)….96

Samuel Dewees Recounts the Suppression of Insubordination in the Continental Army after the Mutinies of 1781 (1844)….100

Henry Knox, Letter to George Washington (October 23, 1786)….103

“Publius” (James Madison), Federalist No. 10 (November 23, 1787)….107

CHAPTER 6: THE EARLY WOMEN’S MOVEMENT….113

Maria Stewart, “An Address Delivered at the African Masonic Hall, Boston” (February 27, 1833)….116

Angelina Grimke Welds Speech at Pennsylvania Hall (May 17, 1838)….117

Harriet Hanson Robinson, “Characteristics of the Early Factory Girls” (1898)….121

S. Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)….124

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” Seneca Falls Convention (July 19, 1848)….126

Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman?” (1851)….128

Marriage Protest of Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell (May 1, 1855)….129

Susan B. Anthony Addresses Judge Ward Hunt in The United States of America v. Susan B. Anthony (June 19, 1873)….130

CHAPTER 7: INDIAN REMOVAL….133

Tecumseh’s Speech to the Osages (Winter 1811-12)….134

Two Documents on the Cherokee Removal ( 1829 and 1 830)

  • Cherokee Nation, “Memorial of the Cherokee Indians” (December 1829)….136
  • Lewis Ross et al., Address of the Committee and Council of the Cherokee Nation, in General Council Convened, to the People of the United States (July 17, 1830)….139

Black Hawks Surrender Speech (1832)….140

John G. Burnett, “The Cherokee Removal Through the Eyes of a Private Soldier” (December 11, 1890)….142

Two Statements by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (1877 and 1879)

  • Chief Josephs Surrender (October 5, 1877)….146
  • Chief Joseph Recounts His Trip to Washington, D.C. (1879)….147

Black Elk, “The End of the Dream” (1932)….149

CHAPTER 8: THE WAR ON MEXICO….133

The Diary of Colonel Ethan Allen Hitchcock (June 30, 1845-March 26, 1846)….154

Miguel Barragan, Dispatch on Texas Colonists (October 31, 1835)….156

Juan Soto, Desertion Handbill (June 6, 1847)….158

Frederick Douglass, Address to the New England Convention (May 31, 1849)….159

North Star Editorial, “The War with Mexico” (January 21, 1848)….160

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience (1849)….164

CHAPTER 9: SLAVERY AND DEFIANCE….167

David Walker’s Appeal (1830)….168

Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself (1861)….171

James Norcoms Runaway Slave Newspaper Advertisement for Harriet Jacobs (June 30, 1835)….174

James R. Bradley, Letter to Lydia Maria Child (June 3, 1834)….174

Reverend Theodore Parker, Speech of Theodore Parker at the Faneuil Hall Meeting (May 26, 1854)….176

Two Letters from Slaves to Their Former Masters (1844 to 1860)

  • Henry Bibb, Letter to William Gatewood (March 23, 1844)….180
  • Jermain Wesley Loguen, Letter to Sarah Logue (March 28, 1860)….181

Frederick Douglass, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” (July 5, 1852)….183

John Brown, “John Brown’s Last Speech” (November 2, 1859)….187

Osborne P. Anderson, A Voice from Harper’s Ferry (1861)….188

Martin Delany’s Advice to Former Slaves (July 23, 1865)….191

Henry McNeal Turner, “On the Eligibility of Colored Members to Seats in the Georgia Legislature” (September 3, 1868)….194

CHAPTER 10: CIVIL WAR AND CLASS CONFLICT….197

An Eyewitness Account of the Flour Riot in New York (February 1837)….198

Hinton Rowan Helper, The Impending Crisis of the South (1857)….200

“Mechanic” (Unknown), “Voting by Classes” (October 13, 1863)….202

Joel Tyler Headley, The Great Riots of New York (1873)….204

Four Documents on Disaffection in the South During the Civil War (1864 to 1865)

  • Report on a Bread Riot in Savannah, Georgia (April 1864)….208
  • “Exempt” (Unknown), “To Go, Or Not to Go” (June 28, 1864)….209
  • O.G.G. (Unknown), Letter to the Editor (February 17, 1865)….209
  • Columbus Sun, “The Class That Suffer” (February 17, 1865)….210

J. A. Dacus, Annals of the Great Strikes in the United States (1877)….211

CHAPTER 11: STRIKERS AND POPULISTS IN THE GILDED AGE….215

Henry George, “The Crime of Poverty” (April 1, 1885)….216

August Spies, “Address of August Spies” (October 7, 1886)….219

Anonymous, “Red-Handed Murder: Negroes Wantonly Killed at Thibodaux, La.” (November 26, 1887)….221

Reverend Ernest Lyon et al., Open Letter from the New Orleans Mass Meeting (August 22, 1888)….223

Two Speeches by Mary Elizabeth Lease (circa 1890)

  • “Wall Street Owns the Country” (circa 1890)….226
  • Speech to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (1890)….226

The Omaha Platform of the People’s Party of America (1 892)….229

Reverend J. L. Moore on the Colored Farmers’ Alliance (March 7, 1891)….230

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, “Lynch Law” (1893)….232

Statement from the Pullman Strikers (June 15, 1894)….234

Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000—1887 (1888)….237

CHAPTER 12: THE EXPANSION OF THE EMPIRE….239

Calixto Garcias Letter to General William R. Shafter (July 17, 1898)….241

Three Documents on African-American Opposition to Empire (1898 to 1899)

  • Lewis H. Douglass on Black Opposition to McKinley (November 17, 1899)….243
  • Missionary Department of the Atlanta, Georgia, A.M.E. Church, “The Negro Should Not Enter the Army” (May 1, 1899)….244
  • I. D. Barnett et al., Open Letter to President McKinley by Colored People of Massachusetts (October 3, 1899)….245

Samuel Clemens, “Comments on the Moro Massacre” (March 12, 1906)….248

Smedley D. Butler, War Is a Racket (1933)….252

CHAPTER 13: SOCIALISTS AND WOBBLIES….257

Mother Jones, “Agitation: The Greatest Factor for Progress” (March 24, 1903)….258

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)….261

W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)….264

Emma Goldman, “Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty” (1908)….270

“Proclamation of the Striking Textile Workers of Lawrence” (1912)……. 272

Arturo Giovannitti’s Address to the Jury (November 23, 1912)….275

Woody Guthrie, “Ludlow Massacre” (1946)….278

Julia May Courtney, “Remember Ludlow!” (May 1914)….280

Joe Hill, “My Last Will” (November 18, 1915)….282

CHAPTER 14: PROTESTING THE FIRST WORLD WAR….283

Helen Keller, “Strike Against War” (January 5, 1916)….284

John Reed, “Whose War?” (April 1917)….288

“Why the IWW Is Not Patriotic to the United States” (1918)….291

Emma Goldman, Address to the Jury in U.S. v. Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman (July 9, 1917)….292

Two Antiwar Speeches by Eugene Debs (1918)

  • “The Canton, Ohio, Speech” (June 16, 1918)….295
  • Statement to the Court (September 18, 1918)….297

Randolph Bourne, “The State” (1918)….298

e. e. cummings, “i sing of Olaf glad and big” (1931)….302

John Dos Passos, “The Body of an American” (1932)….304

Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun (1939)….306

CHAPTER 15: FROM THE JAZZ AGE TO THE UPRISINGS OF THE 1930s….311

F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Echoes of the Jazz Age” (1931)….312

Yip Harburg, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (1932)….314

Paul Y. Anderson, “Tear-Gas, Bayonets, and Votes” (August 17, 1932)….315

Mary Licht, “I Remember the Scottsboro Defense” (February 15, 1997)….320

Ned Cobb (“Nate Shaw”), All God’s Dangers (1969)….323

Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” (1937)….327

Two Poems by Langston Hughes (1934 and 1940)

  • “Ballad of Roosevelt” (1934)….327
  • “Ballad of the Landlord” (1940)….329

Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Speech to the Court (April 9, 1927)….331

Vicky Starr (“Stella Nowicki”), “Back of the Yards” (1973)….332

Sylvia Woods, “You Have to Fight for Freedom” (1973)….336

Rose Chernin on Organizing the Unemployed in the Bronx in the 1930s (1949)….340

Genora (Johnson)….Dollinger, Striking Flint: Genora (Johnson)….Dollinger Remembers the 1936-37 GM Sit-Down Strike (February 1995)….345

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939)….350

Woody Guthrie, “This Land Is Your Land” (February 1940)….353

CHAPTER 16: WORLD WAR II AND MCCARTHYISM….355

Paul Fussell, ‘“Precision Bombing Will Win the War”’ (1989)….356

Yuri Kochiyama, “Then Came the War” (1991)….359

Yamaoka Michiko, “Eight Hundred Meters from the Hypocenter” (1992)….363

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Summary Report (Pacific War) (July 1, 1946)….367

Admiral Gene Larocque Speaks to Studs Terkel About “The Good War” (1985)….373

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)….376

Paul Robeson’s Unread Statement before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (June 12, 1956)….378

Peter Seeger, “Thou Shall Not Sing” (1989)….382

I. F. Stone, “But It’s Not Just Joe McCarthy” (March 15, 1954)….384

The Final Letter from Ethel and Julius Rosenberg to Their Children (June 19, 1953)….388

CHAPTER 17: THE BLACK UPSURGE AGAINST RACIAL SEGREGATION….389

Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices (1941)….391

Langston Hughes, “Montage of a Dream Deferred” (1951)….393

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968)….394

John Lewis, Original Text of Speech to Be Delivered at the Lincoln Memorial (August 28, 1963)….398

Malcolm X, “Message to the Grass Roots” (November 10, 1963)….400

Martha Honey, Letter from Mississippi Freedom Summer (August 9, 1964)….402

Testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer (August 22, 1964)….404

Testimony of Rita L. Schwerner (1964)….406

Alice Walker, “Once” (1968)….410

Sandra A. West, “Riot ! — A Negro Residents Story” (July 24, 1967)….415

Martin Luther King, Jr., “Where Do We Go from Here?” (August 16, 1967)….417

CHAPTER 18: VIETNAM AND BEYOND: THE HISTORIC RESISTANCE….421

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, McComb, Mississippi, Petition Against the War in Vietnam (July 28, 1965)….422

Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam” (April 4, 1967)….423

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Position Paper on Vietnam (January 6, 1966)….427

Bob Dylan, “Masters of War” (1963)….429

Muhammad Ali Speaks Out Against the Vietnam War (1966)….431

Jonathan Schell, The Village of Ben Suc (1967)….431

Larry Colburn, “They Were Butchering People” (2003)….437

Haywood T. “The Kid” Kirkland, from Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984)….440

Loung Ung, “People Just Disappeared and You Didn’t Say Anything” (2003)….442

Tim O’Brien, “The Man I Killed” (1990)….444

Maria Herrera-Sobek, Two Poems on Vietnam (1999)….448

Daniel ElIsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2003)….450

CHAPTER 19: WOMEN, GAYS, AND OTHER VOICES OF RESISTANCE….453

Allen Ginsberg, “America” (January 17, 1956)….454

Martin Duberman, Stonewall (1993)….457

Wamsutta (Frank B.)….James, Suppressed Speech on the 350th Anniversary of the Pilgrims Landing at Plymouth Rock (September 10, 1970)….461

Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born (1977)….464

Abbey Lincoln, “Who Will Revere the Black Woman?” (September 1966)….466

Susan Brownmiller, “Abortion Is a Womans Right” (1999)….469

Assata Shakur (Joanne Chesimard), “Women in Prison: How We Are” (April 1978)….471

Kathleen Neal Cleaver, “Women, Power, and Revolution” (October 16, 1998)….476

CHAPTER 20: LOSING CONTROL IN THE 1970s….481

Howard Zinn, “The Problem Is Civil Obedience” (November 1970)….483

George Jackson, Soledad Brother (1970)….489

Bob Dylan, “George Jackson” (1971)….492

Angela Davis, “Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Liberation” (1970)….494

Two Voices of the Attica Uprising (1971 and 2000)

  • Elliott James (“L. D.”) Barkley (September 9, 1971)….498
  • Interview with Frank “Big Black” Smith (2000)….499

Leonard Peltier on the Trail of Broken Treaties Protest (1999)….500

Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Covert Action in Chile 1963-1973 (December 18, 1975)….504

Noam Chomsky, “COINTELPRO: What the (Deleted) Was It?” (March 12, 1978)….507

CHAPTER 21: THE CARTER-REAGAN-BUSH CONSENSUS….511

Marian Wright Edelman, Commencement Address at Milton Academy (June 10, 1983)….512

César Chávez, Address to the Commonwealth Club of California (November 9, 1984)….515

Testimony of Ismael Guadalupe Ortiz on Vieques, Puerto Rico (October 2, 1979)….521

Local P-9 Strikers and Supporters on the 1985-1986 Meatpacking Strike against the Hormel Company in Austin, Minnesota (1991)….524

Douglas A. Fraser, Resignation Letter to the Labor-Management Group (July 19, 1978)….530

Vito Russo, “Why We Fight” (1988)….534

Abbie Hoffman, “Closing Argument” (April 15, 1987)….537

Public Enemy, “Fight the Power” (1990)….540

CHAPTER 22: PANAMA, THE 1991 GULF WAR, AND THE WAR AT HOME….543

Alex Molnar, “If My Marine Son Is Killed . . (August 23, 1990)….544

Eqbal Ahmad, “Roots of the Gulf Crisis” (November 17, 1990)….546

June Jordan Speaks Out Against the 1991 Gulf War (February 21, 1991)….553

Yolanda Huet- Vaughn, Statement Refusing to Serve in the 1991 Gulf War (January 9, 1991)….555

Interview with Civilian Worker at the Rio Hato Military Base in Panama City (February 23, 1990)….557

Mike Davis, “In L.A., Burning All Illusions” (June 1, 1992)….561

Mumia Abu-Jamal, All Things Censored (2001)….565

CHAPTER 23: CHALLENGING BILL CLINTON….569

Bruce Springsteen, The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995)….570

Lorell Patterson on the “War Zone” Strikes in Decatur, Illinois (June 1995)….573

Winona LaDuke, Acceptance Speech for the Green Party’s Nomination for Vice President of the United States of America (August 29, 1996)….576

Two Open Letters of Protest to the Clinton Administration

  • Alice Walker, Letter to President Bill Clinton (March 13, 1996)….578
  • Adrienne Rich, Letter to Jane Alexander Refusing the National Medal for the Arts (July 3, 1997)….580

Rania Masri, “How Many More Must Die?” (September 17, 2000)….581

Roni Krouzman, “WTO: The Battle in Seattle: An Eyewitness Account” (December 6, 1999)….583

Anita Cameron, “And the Steps Came Tumbling Down — AD APT’s Battle with the HBA” (2000)….587

Elizabeth (“Betita”)….Martinez, “‘Be Down with the Brown!’” (1998)….589

Walter Mosley, Workin’ on the Chain Gang (2000)….592

Julia Butterfly Hill, “Surviving the Storm: Lessons from Nature” (2001)….595

CHAPTER 24: BUSH II AND THE “WAR ON TERROR”….599

Michael Moore, “The Presidency — Just Another Perk” (November 14, 2000)….601

Orlando Rodriguez and Phyllis Rodriguez, “Not In Our Sons Name” (September 15, 2001)….603

Rita Lasar, “To Avoid Another September 1 1 , U.S. Must Join the World” (September 5, 2002)….604

Monami Maulik, “Organizing in Our Communities Post-September 11th” (2001)….606

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 705, “Resolution Against the War” (October 18, 2002)….608

Rachel Corrie, Letter from Palestine (February 7, 2003)….608

Danny Glover, Speech During the World Day of Protest Against the War (February 15, 2003)….610

Amy Goodman, “Independent Media in a Time of War” (2003)….611

Tim Predmore, “How Many More Must Die?” (August 24, 2003)…….. 614

Maritza Castillo et ah, Open Letter to Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.) Michael G. Jones (September 12, 2003)….616

Kurt Vonnegut, “Cold Turkey” (May 31, 2004)….617

Glenn Greenwald, Speech to the Socialism 2013 Conference (June 27, 2013)….622

Chelsea Manning, “‘Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to Live in a Free Society'” (August 21, 2013)….625

CHAPTER 25: RISING RESISTANCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY….627

Camilo Mejia, “I Pledge My Allegiance to the Poor and Oppressed” (July 3, 2005)….629

Cindy Sheehan, “‘It’s Time the Antiwar Choir Started Singing ” (August 5, 2005)….630

Kevin Tillman, “After Pat’s Birthday” (October 19, 2006)….632

Evann Orleck-Jetter, Statement on Marriage Equality (March 18, 2009)….633

Gustavo Madrigal-Pina, “Undocumented and Unafraid” (August 22, 2011)…. 635

Roberto Meneses Marquez, “A Day Laborer” (April 30, 2013)….636

Naomi Klein, “Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now” (October 6, 2011)…. 638

Phillip Agnew, “#OurMarch” (August 28, 2013)….641

Kirstin Roberts, “We Stood Up to the Bullies” (October 9, 2012)…. 643

Amber Kudla, “518-455-4767” (June 23, 2013)…. 647

Jesse Hagopian, “After We Scrapped the MAP” (January 30, 2014)….650

Michelle Farber, “We All Have to Be Brave” (May 14, 2014)….652

EPILOGUE:

Patti Smith, “People Have the Power” (1988)….657

 

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A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present

Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has been chronicling U.S. history from the bottom up.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People’s History tells U.S. history from the point of view of—and in the words of—America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. Read more.

 

The People Speak – Extended Edition

The People Speak, the feature documentary inspired by A People’s History of the United States and based on live readings of Voices of a People’s History of the United States, offers readings and performances of letters, diary entries, speeches, and songs from throughout U.S. history. Read more.

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