A Sad Day In History...


One of my most favorite people died Wednesday, his name was Howard Zinn and he in a large part is responsible for who I am today…

He was a world-renowned historian, professor, activist, author and playwright and he came to my university to speak when I was a junior. He was a quiet, unassuming man with a sweet face and gentle nature and when he spoke, he roared. He was relentless in his search for truth and standing up for what he believed even if it cost him great distress in his personal and professional life. He lost tenure at Spelman College when he stood with students against the school’s policies and also for the active role he played in the civil rights movement. He was a anti-war champion and constantly questioned the ethics of war and the leaders who engage in them, his military service shaped his views on war and it was evident in an essay he wrote called “Just and Unjust War”.  He eventually made his way to Boston College where he was a beloved professor, and he wrote my favorite book (of which my copy is dog eared and highlighted) “The People’s History of the United States”. I love that book. It illuminates the fact that history is a loop, constantly repeating itself…sigh

When I heard him speak, I realized like a great big huge light over my head that we have to stand up and fight for what we believe in, because if we don’t then we lose our voice. And in the world our voice is the most precious thing we have.

My favorite quote of his is…

“Civil disobedience . . . is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem.”


I think our problem now is that we lost the greatest of men…

snarkbite snarkbite
26-30, F
5 Responses Feb 1, 2010

That's a fantastic quote snarkbite, never a truer word said of course. I am new to Howard Zinn, but plan to read up on what he had to say, he sounds fascinating!

That is an excellent quote. The funny thing is, every time I read Howard Zinn I end up highlighting way too much of the book! Even in his interviews are so insightful, just like Chomsky. I like Zinn's last book, A power government's cannot suppress. Also, his "A young people's history of the US" is excellent. I can't wait for my son to grow up and read these two volumes in addition to the standard school history texts :)

I wish Howard got to hear and read about what's been going on in the Middle East lately. Maybe that's why people like him, the great ones, never seem totally dejected. Things are awful and awful things happen all too often but knowing history, they know that something always seems to come along when no one expects it and lights up the world.

I read "A Peoples History" by him it was pretty good stuff too, I think alot of athority figures didnt like him because he kept it too real.

Thank you for sharing this, and that's why<br />
<br />
People like Howard Zinn, never die.