February 5th, 2010
In Memoriam: Howard Zinn
Academic historian, author, activist & playwright Howard Zinn died on Jan. 27, 2010 of a heart attack. His work inspired us WBI citizen lobbyists with his 2007 essay “Are We Politicians or Citizens?” Said he, “We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insist on telling the truth.”
Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was an academic and veteran of the military not afraid to stand against war, for peace. For daring to speak peace, he was considered too “left.” As historian, he wrote the history of the U.S. from the perspective of oppressed groups and the requisite struggles for social justice. Too much for the disenfranchised, the underdogs, thus too “left.” In “The People Speak” which aired on the History Channel, actors read quotes from historical figures reclaiming democracy for America based on Zinn’s work. Too uppity and diverse and in-the-face of the rich and powerful, thus too “left.” A critic of nativism, blind patriotism and symbols when the nation’s actions and practices render patriotism hypocrical. Way too “left” by threatening to expose American exceptionalism and arrogance.
He will be missed. Here are some tributes. Democracy Now. Videos about how he wanted to be remembered. And was insulted with NPR’s inclusion of an ad hominim attack of him during his obituary segment. Remembered by his former student Marian Wright Edelman as a man who “taught us to be neither victims nor passive observers of unjust treatment but active and proud claimants of our American birthright.”
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