Thursday, January 28, 2010

In memory of Howard Zinn 1922-2010

"Zinn's work exemplifies an approach to history that is radical. He tells of the untold story, the story of the world's poor, the world's workers, the world's homeless, the world's oppressed, the people who don't really qualify as real people in official histories. Howard Zinn painstakingly unearths the details that the powerful seek to airbrush away"

Arundhati Roy
Another fine man and fighter for social justice has passed away.

I am deeply saddened by news of the death of Howard Zinn
, distinguished American historian and Professor Emeritus in the Political Science Department at Boston University. Just days ago I was reading Howard Zinn's latest (and final) piece on the first year of the Obama Presidency (blog piece here) and his 2006 book Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics. Today the terrible news that he has died of a heart attack aged 87.

Howard Zinn was a distinguished historian and academic, and a political activist and dissenter who was at the forefront of radical and progressive movements for change in the US for over 50 years. After his retirement from academia, Zinn remained active in struggles for justice, right up until the day of his death.

He was the author of more than 20 books, including A People's History of the United States (1980), a
best selling and ground breaking book that told of history from the perspective of ordinary working people, slaves, unionists, civil rights campaigners, dissenters, workers, feminists, war resisters. That book inspired generations of people, including the work of artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Oliver Stone, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Alice Walker. The book was the basis for a recent US TV show "The People Speak", which featured a cavalcade of American and international actors playing people featured in Zinn's book.

Daniel Ellsberg has written a wonderful piece on Howard Zinn in which he writes:
"Howard Zinn was the best human being I've ever known. The best example of what a human can be, and can do with their life."
A collection of Howard Zinn's recent articles can be found here

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