In the South

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.”

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.…

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.

Howard Zinn Inspired Spelman Women to Stand Up, Speak Out, and Soar

Howard Zinn Inspired Spelman Women to Stand Up | HowardZinn.org

Howard Zinn Inspired Spelman Women to Stand Up | HowardZinn.orgSpelman College featured several scholars and activists who talked about the huge impact former Spelman professor Howard Zinn had upon their lives.

Marian Wright Edelman recalls, “He was a very creative, magical teacher. He taught us how to think for ourselves, to analyze, to question what we read, and speak truth to power.…

Memo to Bob Moses | 1964

Memo to Bob Moses, 1964
Source: Freedom Summer Digital Collection at Wisconsin Historical Society
This 1964 memo from Howard Zinn to Bob Moses (a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) outlined a plan to minimize violence in Mississippi for the upcoming Freedom Summer, when hundreds of volunteers would be arriving to help African-American residents register to vote, establish a new political party, and learn about history and politics in the newly-formed Freedom Schools. The memo also addressed ways to pressure President Johnson to enforce constitutional rights of citizens exercising their right to vote.

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.

‘You have to go beyond capitalism’: Dave Zirin Interviews Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn and David Zirin, 2009 | HowardZinn.org

On May 2, 2009, sportswriter Dave Zirin, author of A People’s History of Sports (New Press) and What’s My Name Fool? (Haymarket Books), interviewed Howard Zinn. Some 250 people attended the event at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was sponsored by Haymarket Books.…

Zinn Speaks: An Interview on the State of the Empire

By Wajajat Ali • Published at Counterpunch • April 19, 2008 Zinn reflects on his historic and memorable time at Spelman College in the ‘60s, his thoughts on the Democratic Party, his philosophy of dissent as democracy, and his hope for America’s future.

Against Discouragement

Howard Zinn Spelman Commencement 2005 | HowardZinn.org

originalzinnIn 1963, Howard Zinn was fired from Spelman College, where he was chair of the History Department, because of his support for students’ civil rights activism. In 2005, he was invited back by President Beverly Daniel Tatum to give the commencement address.