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Zinn on Memorial Day

By Howard Zinn • Published on June 2, 1976 in the Boston Globe
Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.

When Respectability Was No Longer Respectable, and Virtue Required Acting Out, Not Leaning In

By Howard Zinn • The Nation • August 6, 1960 and republished March 23, 2015
One afternoon some weeks ago, with the dogwood on the Spelman College campus newly bloomed and the grass close-cropped and fragrant, an attractive, tawny-skinned girl crossed the lawn to her dormitory to put a notice on the bulletin board. It read: Young Ladies Who Can Picket Please Sign Below. The notice revealed, in its own quaint language, that within the dramatic revolt of Negro college students in the South today another phenomenon has been developing. This is the upsurge of the young, educated Negro woman against the generations-old advice of her elders: be nice, be well-mannered and ladylike, don’t speak loudly, and don’t get into trouble. On the campus of the nation’s leading college for Negro young women—pious, sedate, encrusted with the traditions of gentility and moderation—these exhortations, for the first time, are being firmly rejected.

On the Road to Voting Rights: Freedom Day in Selma, 1963

Freedom Day, Selma, 1963 | HowardZinn.org In the 1960s, Howard Zinn, along with Ella Baker, served as advisers to SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. On this 50th anniversary year of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches and the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, we revisit Zinn's first-hand account from Selma's Freedom Day in 1963. "The idea was to bring hundreds of people to register to vote, hoping that their numbers would decrease fear. And there was much to fear," Zinn writes.

The Pentagon Papers Disclosure and Indictments

December 30 is the anniversary of Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo being indicted in 1971 for releasing the Pentagon Papers. The papers were part of a 7,000-page, top secret history of the U.S. political and military involvement in the Vietnam War from 1945-71. In other words, their “crime” was to make the American public aware of the history of the war. Excerpted from chapter 12 of You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Howard Zinn recounts the lead-up to Ellsberg and Russo's indictment.

Veterans and Dissent at the War Memorial

For Veterans Day, we highlight this article, "Dissent at the War Memorial," written by Howard Zinn for The Progressive in 2004. Asked to speak on a panel called, "War Stories," Zinn said, "I don’t want to honor military heroism — that conceals too much death and suffering. I want to honor those who all these years have opposed the horror of war.”