With Banned Book Week (Sept. 21-28) in full swing, we call attention to the recent—sometimes successful—attempts to ban Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.
In 2012, the Tucson Unified School District decided to abolish the highly-successful Mexican American Studies Program and called for an immediate removal of all program books, including A People’s History of the United States and other people’s history texts.
In 2013, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels orders to ban the use of any of Zinn’s books in K-12 classrooms gained national attention, especially since Daniels is now the president of Purdue University. Read More
On April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard attacked a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado. An estimated two dozen people were killed, including young children.
Known as the Ludlow Massacre, Howard Zinn described its importance and obscurity in The Politics of History, “The culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history. Despite five thousands pages of testimony, taken at the time by Congressional investigating bodies, it remains an obscure event, rarely mentioned in textbooks on American history.”
In Howard Zinn’s brilliant, timely play, Karl Marx launches into a passionate, funny and moving defense of his life and political ideas.
The play is an excellent introduction to Marx’s life, his analysis of society, and his passion for radical change. Marx uses current news and events to show how his ideas still resonate.
Visit www.ironagetheatre.org for more information and reviews.
In August 2014, a new version of HowardZinn.org launched to provide greater online access to articles, interviews, and other works by and about Howard Zinn. The website also offers a comprehensive list of books by Howard Zinn and announcements about events based on Zinn’s work. Additional articles, interviews, photos, and other archival materials will be added to the site in the months ahead.
If you have additional interviews or archival materials by Howard Zinn that can be published online, email email@example.com.
On April 24, 2014, a daylong symposium was held at New York University (NYU) to celebrate the donation of Zinn’s personal papers to NYU’s Tamiment Library by his children, Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jeff Zinn. Included in the donation are Zinn’s personal correspondences, school and military records, FBI files, datebooks, biographical articles, and interviews.
By Alison Kysia
Most famously, former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels celebrated Zinn’s death in emails to his education lieutenants and ordered them to find and remove Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States, from schools and teacher education programs. Read More
By Andrea Germano
In organizing a Howard Zinn read-in at Purdue University, students have cultivated what is described as an “imaginative and defiant response to the corporate attack on our students and our schools.”Controversy flared the summer when the Associated Press revealed that Mitch Daniels, former Indiana Governor and now Purdue University president, attempted to censor Howard Zinn’s classic A People’s History of the United States from Indiana classrooms. Read More
By Robert Cohen and Sonia Murrow • The Nation • August 5, 2013
A recent Associated Press expose—drawing on e-mails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act—revealed that in 2010, Mitch Daniels, then Indiana’s Republican governor, covertly set out to ban Howard Zinn’s best-selling A People’s History of the United States from Indiana’s classrooms. Daniels had privately responded to Zinn’s death that year with unseemly glee; “This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away,” he crowed. Daniels attempted to banish Zinn’s book on the grounds that it was “a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page…. How do we get rid of it before more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?” When Daniels’s education adviser replied that A People’s History was being used in a social movements course for teachers at Indiana University, the governor insisted that “this crap should not be accepted for any credit by the state,” sparking a proposed statewide review of university courses designed to “disqualify propaganda” from Indiana’s curriculum. Read More
By Bill Bigelow
Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, one of the country’s most widely read history books, died on January 27, 2010. Shortly after, then-Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels got on his computer and fired off an email to the state’s top education officials: “This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away.” Read More
Mitch Daniels, as an unconventional choice to become Purdue University’s president, has repeatedly pledged his strong commitment to academic freedom. And many professors — including some who had questioned the wisdom of appointing a governor as university president — have given him high marks for the start of his work at Purdue.
A new book is available that engage the various complexities and tensions present throughout Howard Zinn’s work and subject them to a 21st century assessment. It is edited by Stephen Bird, Adam Silver, and Joshua Yesnowitz.
Here is the publisher’s description:
Agitation with a Smile offers a reappraisal of Howard Zinn’s political thought and situates his efforts in a contemporary context, looking toward the nature of activism and dissent in the future. This is the first book to provide a substantive account and assessment of Zinn’s philosophy and approach to collective action and, to a larger extent, democracy. Read More
Alternative Radio, established in 1986, is a weekly one-hour public affairs program offered free to all public radio stations with information, analyses and views that are frequently ignored or distorted in other media. The programs are also available on CD and MP3 for classroom use. (There is a small processing fee.)
Alternative Radio has an archive of more than 50 talks and interviews by Howard Zinn. Here is a list of the topics: Read More
This special edition came about after scholars presented and discussed perspectives on the important influences of Howard Zinn to education, history, and citizenship at the 2010 Midwest Peace and Justice Summit in Indianapolis.
As the editors explain in the Introduction:
The collection begins with a variety of essays concerning the personal influence of Zinn to each of the different scholars from diverse academic disciplines.
Continue reading at the Zinn Education Project.
Poet Martín Espada wrote a poem to honor Howard Zinn called “Castles for the Laborers and Ballgames on the Radio.” He read the poem during a 2013 interview on Moyers & Company. Espada referred to Zinn as “the most decent, most generous human being I have ever known.”
Moyers & Company • January 17, 2013
“Reading Howard’s spoken words I feel that I am almost hearing his voice again. Even in writing its unique appeal comes through — his stunning pitch-perfect ability to capture the moment and the concerns and needs of the audience whoever they may be, always enlightening, often stirring, an amalgam of insight, critical history, wit, blended with charm and appeal. I’ve heard Howard speak to tens of thousands at demonstrations, to small groups of homeless people, to activists enduring brutal treatment, and at many other times and places. Always just the right tone and message, always inspiring, a gift to all of us to be treasured.” —Noam Chomsky
For more information see Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches, 1963 – 2009.
During the 2011–2012 school year, the non-profit organization Voices of a People’s History ran a pilot project in Chicago to bring free educational resources, public performing arts programming, film screenings, and professional development workshops to educators and their students in Chicago area public schools and in community organizations. The Chicago Voices pilot launched in Fall 2011. Read More
Last week, the Tucson Unified School District eliminated a popular Mexican American Studies program in local high schools that, in a short period of time, had done a lot of good.. . .When an outside audit gave the program a positive review, the district ended it anyway and, for good measure, ordered that teachers discontinue using texts like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, Rodolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima, Rodolfo Acuna’s Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, Elizabeth Martinez’s 500 Years of Chicano History, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
Continue reading “Book Banning in Arizona” in Academe Blog by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic.
Noam Chomsky, noted author and philosopher, and Anthony Arnove, filmmaker and editor, spoke at SUNY-New Paltz, on Dec. 4, 2011 in tribute to the legacy and life’s work of Howard Zinn. This event was titled “Honoring Howard Zinn: A Historian Who Made History.” Presentations by Chomsky and Arnove considered Zinn’s leading role in promoting peace and social justice in the contemporary world. Read More
There was a standing-room-only crowd at the new Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, Md., for the special event on Sept. 21, 2011 to celebrate International Peace Day, dedicate the Zinn Room, and raise funds for the Zinn Education Project.