From the Archives

Shall the House Committee on Un-American Activities Be Abolished?

Source: Howard Zinn Papers, Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University • 1963
On February 11, 1963, at Emory University, Howard Zinn participated in a debate with Fulton Lewis III, a journalist and member of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on whether HUAC should be abolished. Zinn noted this in his diary and the two-and-half hour event was recorded.

The First Amendment and A Free People Radio Show

Source: WBGH Boston Open Vault • 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.

History Detectives: Howard Zinn on the Lawrence Textile Strike

screenshot of studio interview
Source: PBS History Detectives • 2006
Elyse Luray: So why was there this renewed interest in the strike?
Howard Zinn: I think that the movements of the 1960s, of Black people in the South, of women, of people all over the country working against the war in Vietnam, of disabled people, there arose out of those movements, a greater interest in history that had been neglected in the orthodox teachings of the past. I think as part of that new interest in people's history, we began to get more interest in labor history, and therefore in the history of the Lawrence Strike.

My Grades Will Not Be Instruments of War

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...

Ella Baker: “One of the most consequential and yet one of the least honored people in America”

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."

Commemorating Tiyo Attallah Salah-El, Prison Activist

Tiyo Attallah Salah-El and Howard Zinn (undated) | HowardZinn.org
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.

Howard Zinn: How Racial Prejudice Can Change

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.

Sam Lovejoy, Anti-Nukes Activist, Requests Howard Zinn to Testify | 1974

Sam Lovejoy, Anti-Nukes Activist, Requests Howard Zinn to Testify | HowardZinn.org
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.