Activism

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.

A People’s History Inspires Students’ Political Activism

L.A. students of color in lime green shirt In an experiment with nearly 700 students from nine Chicago-area schools, Matthew Nelsen (a PhD candidate in Political Science at Northwestern University) gave out readings on the abolitionist movement, the National Farmworkers Association, and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Half of the readings were from the corporate textbook The American Pageant and the other half from A People’s History of the United States. Afterwards, when Nelsen asked students to report on their willingness to participate in political activities (voting, campaigning, or demonstrations), Black and Latino youth reported a greater willingness to participate when they read passages from A People’s History.

SNCC: The Battle-Scarred Youngsters

SNCC Worker Briefing, Fall 1963 | HowardZinn.org This year is the 60th anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Howard Zinn wrote about SNCC’s participation at the 1963 March on Washington. “...the youngest speaker on the platform, John Lewis...lashed out in anger, not only at the Dixiecrats, but at the Kennedy Administration, which had been successful up to that moment in directing the indignation of 200,000 people at everyone but itself.”

Investigation of a Flame (Film)

B&W photo of Catonsville 9 On May 17, 1968 nine Vietnam War protesters, including a nurse, an artist and three priests, walked into a Catonsville, Maryland draft board office, grabbed hundreds of selective service records and incinerated them with homemade napalm. The 45-minute documentary film, Investigation of a Flame, offers an intimate look at this unlikely, disparate band of resisters

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."

Howard Zinn Remembers Whitney Young Jr.

Zinn Remembers Whitney Young Jr. in "The Powerbroker"

Whitney Young Jr. (July 31, 1921 – March 11, 1971) was a civil rights leader and head of the National Urban League. In the documentary The Powerbroker (2013), Howard Zinn recalls working with Young on desegregation efforts in the South:

You can learn this from Whitney: that it’s possible to have an important post and still move out from that and join whatever movement is going on for social justice.…

Sam Lovejoy and ‘No Nukes’ Activism

In September 1974, Sam Lovejoy went on trial for "malicious destruction" of a weather tower that had been erected to test wind direction at the site for the planned construction of a nuclear power plant. Howard Zinn testified in Lovejoy's case as an expert on civil disobedience (read Lovejoy's letter to Zinn). The following is a summary of these events, including a film clip from Lovejoy's Nuclear War, featuring an interview with Howard Zinn on civil disobedience.

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.