From the Archives
Interviewed by Dr. Bernard Rubin • WGBH: The First Amendment and A Free People • Late 1970s
Bernard Rubin: What’s your definition of radical?
Howard Zinn: Somebody who wants to do something to make very fundamental changes in the distribution of wealth, in the distribution of political power, and in a kind of culture of violence and oppression in which we exist today. Race, sex, class oppression, something that fundamental. That’s what I mean, I guess.
Source: Howard Zinn Papers, Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
In an undated letter (probably in 1966), Zinn said that he would not allow the grades he gave to play a role in helping the United States wage immoral wars. He announced that for students with a moral opposition to the war...
Source: American Radio Works
On April 24, 1968, Howard Zinn introduced organizer Ella Baker at a dinner honoring her work. Zinn described Baker as "one of the most consequential and yet one of the least honored people in America."
Source: Tiyo Attallah Salah-El Papers, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tiyo Attallah Salah-El (Sept. 13, 1932 – June 8, 2018) was a musician, scholar, and prison abolitionist who founded the Coalition for the Abolition of Prisons in 1995. Salah-El was 85 years and had been incarcerated for more than 40 years. He became pen pals with Howard Zinn who Zinn mentioned in his autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.
Source: WNYC Radio
Recorded in the 1960s (estimate 1964-1965 based on transcript), Patricia Marx sits down with historian Howard Zinn to discuss his books, SNCC: The New Abolitionists and The Southern Mystique. Zinn describes his experiences teaching at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1956 to 1963, and his subsequent observations on racial prejudice in the southern United States.
Source: Howard Zinn Papers, housed at New York University’s Tamiment Library
In 1974, anti-nukes activist Sam Lovejoy wrote to Howard Zinn, asking Zinn to testify at his upcoming September 17 trial as an expert on civil disobedience. Earlier that year in February, Lovejoy toppled a weather tower that was the first stage of a proposed nuclear power plant.
Source: FBI FIles: The Vault
In July 2010, the FBI declassified their 243-page file on Howard Zinn, dating back to 1949 (read summaries of files). The first recorded contact with Zinn is this report filed four years later on November 25, 1953.
Source: Freedom Summer Digital Collection at Wisconsin Historical Society
This 1964 memo from Howard Zinn to Bob Moses (a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) outlined a plan to minimize violence in Mississippi for the upcoming Freedom Summer, when hundreds of volunteers would be arriving to help African-American residents register to vote, establish a new political party, and learn about history and politics in the newly-formed Freedom Schools. The memo also addressed ways to pressure President Johnson to enforce constitutional rights of citizens exercising their right to vote.
Source: Howard Zinn Papers, housed at New York University's Tamiment Library
We share this letter from the Howard Zinn Papers, housed at New York University's Tamiment Library. Pete Seeger wrote to Zinn in 2006, asking for a book recommendation on Rutherford B. Hayes.
Source: Hall-Hoag Collection, Brown University
In this letter dated June 3, 1968, Howard Zinn replies to an inquiry from Grace Hoag asking about the “communist manipulation of demonstrations.” Zinn defends the integrity of young people “who are too intelligent to be led astray.”