For their book, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove selected testimonies—speeches, letters, poems, songs, petitions, and manifestos—of people throughout U.S. history who struggled against slavery, racism, and war, against oppression and exploitation, and who articulated a vision for a better world.

On October 22, 2004, a remarkable event was held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, where a talented group of actors and activists helped bring the book’s dramatic voices to life. Captured beautifully on this DVD, these powerful readings include: Paul Roberson, Jr. reciting from his father’s suppressed testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Lili Taylor reading Emma Goldman’s blistering attack on patriotism, and John Sayles reading an anti-imperialist essay by Mark Twain. Other unforgettable speeches were delivered by Brian Jones as Frederick Douglass, Sarah Jones as Yuri Kochiyama, Leslie Silva as Anne Moody, Wallace Shawn as Vito Russo, and many more. Radio host Amy Goodman kicks off the evening with a remarkable tribute to Howard Zinn, and Zinn himself talks movingly about the motivation for bringing these often ignored or hidden voices to light. [Publisher’s description.]

Released by AK Press, 2005.


1) Amy Goodman • Introduction
2) Howard Zinn • Introduction
3) John Sayles • The Devastation Of The Indies: A Brief Account (1542) • By Bartholomé de Las Casas
4) Sarah Jones • Tecumseh’s Speech To the Osages (Winter 1811-1812)
5) Lili Taylor • Characteristics Of The Early Factory Girls (1898) • By Harriet Hanson Robinson
6) Brian Jones (6) • The Meaning Of July Fourth For The Negro (July 5, 1852) • By Frederick Douglass
7) Wallace Shawn • The Class That Suffer (February 17, 1865) • From Columbus Sun (Editorial)
8) Paul Robeson, Jr. • On The Eligibility Of Colored Members To Seats In The Georgia Legislature (September 3, 1868) • By Henry McNeal Turner
9) Lili Taylor with Wallace Shawn • Susan B. Anthony Addresses Judge Ward Hunt In The United States Of America vs. Susan B. Anthony (June 19, 1873)
10) John Sayles • Comments On The Moro Massacre (March 12, 1906) • By Mark Twain
11) Lili Taylor • Patriotism: A Menace To Liberty (1908) • By Emma Goldman
12) Brian Jones • The Canton, Ohio, Speech (June 16, 1918) • By Eugene Debs
13) John Sayles • I Sing Of Olaf Glad And Big (1931) • By E. E. Cummings
14) Leslie Silva • You Have To Fight For Freedom (1973) • By Sylvia Woods
15) Paul Robeson, Jr. • Battle Of Roosevelt (1934) • By Langston Hughes
16) Sarah Jones • Then Came The War (1991) • By Yuri Kochiyama
17) Paul Robeson, Jr. • Paul Robeson’s Unread Statement Before The House Committee On Un-American Activities (June 12, 1956)
18) Leslie Silva • Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, McComb, Mississippi, Petition Against The War In Vietnam (July 28, 1965)
19) Wallace Shawn • The Problem Is Civil Obedience (November 1970) • By Howard Zinn
20) Brian Jones • Original Text Of Speech To Be Delivered At The Lincoln Memorial (August 28, 1963) • By John Lewis
21) Leslie Silva • Coming Of Age In Mississippi (1968) • By Anne Moody
22) Wallace Shawn • Why We Fight (1988) • By Vito Russo
23) Sarah Jones • Not In Our Son’s Name (September 15, 2001) • By Orlando Rodriguez, Phyllis Rodriguez

Read, Learn, & Make History
Check out the Howard Zinn Digital Collection to search Zinn’s bibliography by books, articles, audio, video, and more.

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