We mourn the passing of people’s historian and activist Howard Zinn (1922-2010). He suffered a heart attack on Wednesday in Santa Monica, CA.
From his early involvement in the civil rights movement as a teacher at Spellman College, to his opposition to the Vietnam War, to his groundbreaking writings on American history, Zinn was always an unflinching champion of bottom-up democracy and resistance to injustice.
His most well-known book, A People’s History of the United States, has sold more than 2 million copies and changed the way many view American history. Written from the perspective of workers, minorities, women, soldiers, and activists, it tells the story of US history with a view to the everyday masses involved in it—not the elites, heroes and “leaders” which dominate standard history textbooks.
Zinn personified the spirit of courage, integrity, empathy and social change. He influenced the way a whole generation looks at its world.
He will surely be missed.
“Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of suprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”