Excerpts

Insisting on the Rights of Everyone Everywhere

Insisting on the Rights of Everyone (excerpt) | HowardZinn.org

Insisting on the Rights of Everyone (excerpt) | HowardZinn.orgBy Howard Zinn, excerpted from The Zinn Reader

I was one of the speakers at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston (though named after an early slave trader, it was the scene of many meetings of anti-slavery groups before the Civil War) in 1991, when the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts organized a celebration of the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights.…

Commemorating Emma Goldman: ‘Living My Life’

June 27 marks the birth of Emma Goldman (June 27, 1869–May 14, 1940), an anarchist who was an early advocate of free speech, birth control, women's equality and independence, and unions. After reading Richard Drinnon's biography of Emma Goldman, Rebel in Paradise, Howard Zinn read Goldman's autobiography, Living My Life. As a historian with a PhD, he was astonished he had never learned about Goldman in his studies. "Here was this magnificent woman, this anarchist, this feminist, fierce, life-loving person."

A Veteran Against War

August 6 and 9 mark the anniversary of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. In the following excerpt from You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Howard Zinn, a WWII bombardier, recalls, “Hiroshima and Royan were crucial in my gradual rethinking of what I had once accepted without question—the absolute morality of the war against fascism.”

Strike at Boston University

[Boston University President John Silber’s] employees had difficulty getting raises in their wages or their benefits. In self-defense, they organized into unions: the faculty, the secretaries and staff, the librarians. And in 1979, with various grievances not met, all these groups, at different times, went out on strike. For the faculty, the provocation was the university reneging on a contract at first agreed to by its negotiating committee.

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.