Excerpts

Insisting on the Rights of Everyone Everywhere

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

By 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 …

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.”

Revolt Is Always an Inch Below the Surface

In the following excerpt from Chapter 17, “Or Does It Explode?” of A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn writes about the legacy of Black resistance in the 20th century, and the rise of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s and 70s. Although the government attempted to quell social unrest through civil …

Value of Skepticism and Breaking Down Barriers with Students

As the school year gets underway, we share this excerpt from Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics on democratic education, the value of skepticism, and building trust with students. In this interview with David Barsamian at Alternative Radio, Howard Zinn explains that he built trust with his students “by showing them that outside the classroom …

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.

Remembering a War

This year, as the Pentagon prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we revisit this essay by Howard Zinn written in 1998, the 30th anniversary year of when he traveled with the Reverend Daniel Berrigan to Hanoi to receive prisoners released by the North Vietnamese. In talking about the terrible effects of …

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 following excerpt is from Chapter 5 of Zinn’s autobiography, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train and is followed by related resources about Selma’s voting rights campaign, Freedom Day, and SNCC.

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 …

Indian Resistance and Thanksgiving Declarations

For Thanksgiving, we highlight Native American resistance that caught the nation’s attention in the 1960s and 70s. As Howard Zinn wrote in Chapter 19 of A People’s History of the United States, “Never in American history had more movements for change been concentrated in so short a span of years.” Following are additional resources on Native American …