Spelman College

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.

Staughton Lynd — “Long Distance Runner for Justice”

Staughton Lynd speaks with Freedom School teachers in Ohio. Photo: Herbert Randall. | HowardZinn.org Nov. 22 marks the birthday of Staughton Lynd, longtime friend of Howard Zinn. They both taught at Spelman College and can be described as long-distance runners for justice. "I have admired [Lynd] enormously ever since I first met him,” Zinn wrote shortly before his death, because he is an “exemplar of strength and gentleness in the quest for a better world." Read more about Lynd in this tribute by Andy Piascik.

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.

Remembering Howard Zinn

By Marian Wright Edelman • February 02, 2010
When Howard Zinn passed away on January 27 at age 87, the nation mourned the loss of a pioneering historian and social activist who revolutionized the way millions of Americans, especially young Americans, understand our shared history. His writings and work inspired millions of readers, but I was among the generations of students privileged to know him as a beloved teacher, mentor, and friend.

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.

“To Be Neutral, To Be Passive In A Situation Is To Collaborate With Whatever Is Going On”

Interviewed by Amy Goodman • Democracy Now! • April 27, 2005
Howard Zinn: I believe neutrality is impossible, because the world is already moving in certain directions. Wars are going on. Children are starving. And to be neutral, to pretend to neutrality, to not take a stand in a situation like that is to collaborate with whatever is going on, to allow it to happen. I did not want to be a collaborator with what was happening. I wanted my history to intercede and to take a stand on behalf of peace, on behalf of a racial equality or sexual equality..."