Bashing Howard Zinn: A Critical Look at One of the Critics

By Alison Kysia

howardzinn_peacerallySince the death of historian Howard Zinn in 2010, a number of scholars and politicians have targeted Zinn’s work in an effort to undermine his influence among educators.

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

‘Howard Zinn Read-In’ Celebrates Power of ‘Dangerous’ Education

Howard Zinn Read In | WeAreMany.orgFormer Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ attempt to censor Zinn’s classic ‘A People’s History’ backfires, sparks ongoing interest in late historian’s work.

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

Howard Zinn, Our Favorite Teacher: Memories from Former Students

ourfavoriteteacher_buttonThe Zinn Education Project is collecting personal remembrances from Zinn’s students at Spelman College in Atlanta and Boston University. The first stories were posted in August of 2013 in honor of what would have been Howard Zinn’s 91st birthday. Read More

Who’s Afraid of Radical History?

Mitch Daniels’s covert war on Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.

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

Indiana’s Anti-Howard Zinn Witch-hunt

Zinn at the 2008 NCSS | Photo by Steve Puppe/NCSS.

Zinn at the 2008 NCSS. | Photo by Steve Puppe/NCSS.

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 Attempted to Ban Zinn’s ‘People’s History’ as Governor

Academic Freedom 101 | Illustration by Gary Varvel | The Indianpolis Star

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.
Read More

Agitation with a Smile: Howard Zinn’s Legacies and the Future of Activism

agitationwithasmile9781612051826A 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

The Howard Zinn Archives at Alternative Radio

AR_header2Alternative 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

International Journal of Social Education: Special Issue on Howard Zinn

Cover: International Journal of Social EducationThis 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.


Castles for the Laborers and Ballgames on the Radio

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


New Release: Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches, 1963 – 2009

Layout 1A collection of Howard Zinn’s speeches, edited by Anthony Arnove, was released by Haymarket Books.

“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.


The People Speak in Chicago Schools

news_the-people-speak-chicago-schoolsDuring 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

A People’s History Banned in Tucson Schools

Banned Book Cover: A People's History of the United StatesLast 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.


Honoring Howard Zinn: A Historian Who Made History

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

Educators and Activists Celebrate the Legacy of Howard Zinn and the Zinn Education Project

Collage: Howard Zinn Room Dedication, 2011 | Photos by Rick Reinhard and Jack GordonThere 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.

Read More

The People Speak Actor Danny Glover to Receive the Debs Award

news_the-people-speak-actor-danny-glover-debs-awardDanny Glover, featured in the film The People Speak,  will receive the 2011 Eugene V. Debs Award. The Debs Foundation wrote:

As actor, producer, and humanitarian, Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage, and television for more than 25 years. Add to that his participation in numerous marches and demonstrations in support of workers’ rights. His accomplishments in acting and directing have enhanced and enabled his community activism and advocacy for human rights, both in the U.S. and in Africa, with a particular emphasis on advocacy for economic justice and access to health care and education. Read More

Tip of the Cap to Howard Zinn from the New York Times’ Bob Herbert


Excerpted from the article “When Democracy Weakens” by Bob Herbert, published February 11, 2011

“The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy, and that’s a long, hard road. Americans are in the mind-bogglingly self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away.

I had lunch with the historian Howard Zinn just a few weeks before he died in January 2010. He was chagrined about the state of affairs in the U.S. but not at all daunted. ‘If there is going to be change,’ he said, ‘real change, it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves.’

I thought of that as I watched the coverage of the ecstatic celebrations in the streets of Cairo.”

Read the full article “When Democracy Weakens” at the New York Times.

Photo/image: Bob Herbert


Film Even the Rain/Tambien La Lluvia Dedicated to Howard Zinn

Film • Even the Rain cover imageSeptember 16, 2010—The writer and film maker Paul Laverty was asked recently why he and director Icíar Bollaín dedicated his new film “Even the Rain (Tambien La Lluvia),” set in Bolivia and starring Gael Garcia Bernal, to the historian Howard Zinn:

Over 25 years ago in Managua, Nicaragua, a close friend Myrna Santiago, who is now a brilliant history teacher in the Oakland area, gave me Howard’s book A Peoples History of the United States. It took my breath away. Little did I know that 15 years later we would become great friends. Read More

Review of The People Speak on BlogCritics


The People Speak represents an opportunity very few of us are given. Not only does it present aspects of history not everybody is familiar with, it brings it to life and makes it real. For too many people history has been confined to the pages of dusty books and boring classrooms – this represents a chance to see and hear it brought alive. We may not be able to travel back in time, but this DVD brings the past to us.”

Read the full review at


Celebrate the Life and Legacy of Howard Zinn: January 27


Don’t Mourn, Organize

Celebrate the remarkable life and legacy of Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) by organizing a community screening of The People Speak documentary or hosting a reading of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on or near the anniversary of his passing, January 27.

To read more about hosting a reading of Voices of a People’s History of the United States, visit Voices of a People’s History.