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Howard Zinn, A People’s Historian, Dies at 87

Posted on Jan 27, 2010

Howard Zinn changed the way we think about our history. The author of the revolutionary “A People’s History of the United States” died of a heart attack Wednesday in Santa Monica. He was an inspiration to us all.

Zinn was a fierce thinker, speaker and activist who led a fascinating life. Take this early episode, recounted by the Associated Press: “War continued his education. Eager to help wipe out the Nazis, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 and even persuaded the local draft board to let him mail his own induction notice. He flew missions throughout Europe, receiving an Air Medal, but he found himself questioning what it all meant. Back home, he gathered his medals and papers, put them in a folder and wrote on top: ‘Never again.’ ”

He was fired by a Southern black women’s college for being too pro-civil rights and resented by the Kennedy administration. He was intellectually consistent and consistently tough. One of his final works was published just recently—an attack on the Obama administration.

More of Zinn’s AP obituary here.

A more fitting tribute by a Truthdig contributor can be found here—PZS

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By Isernia, January 29, 2010 at 6:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A radio commentator suggested that Zinn’s credability as an historian and peace advocate ended in the l980’s. I disagree. As a high school teacher I know that our young folks need Zinn’s kind of history. “Bottom-up” decision-making is necessary in a democracy. As a daughter of immigrant parents whose labor helped build America’s economic power in the first half of the 20th century, I can personally testify that were it not for labor union organizations -strikes and collective bargaining, my family would not have entered the middle class, nor would I have been able to go to college.
  Let teachers continue to assign readings from Zinn’s text.  This is the greatest honor we can contribute to his memory.

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By samosamo, January 28, 2010 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

He will be missed and it is disheartening to have lost another
person who was for the truth.

I will miss him just as I will miss Bill Moyers on PBS and hope
that these people will be replaced by equally concerned and
conscientious people who will spread truth instead of deception
and ignorance.

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By Xntrk, January 28, 2010 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

The good don’t always die young, which is a gift to the rest of us. Sometimes they even go suddenly, which is a gift to them. 

Rest in Peace, you’ve earned it. Now it is up to the rest of us to continue the battle.

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Not One More!'s avatar

By Not One More!, January 28, 2010 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

Ahh, another rational voice silenced, by death this time instead of the media.

His book, History of the US,  is on my nightstand as I’ve been reading through it over the last few weeks.

Those who don’t learn from the past, the real past and not just what our media / education system wants us to know, are doomed to repeat it.


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