Zinn spoke for and of all the people in the United States, not just the elite. His writings, speeches, lectures, and actions were an ongoing advocacy for equality for all people. His book, A People’s History of the United States, gives us a perspective on United States history that is often quite different from the traditional presentation found in most high school textbooks.
"TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based
on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but
also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
― H. Zinn
His books, lectures, and speeches formed the core of my teaching of US history curriculum during my last five years teaching high school and, in large measure, helped form our vision of living simply as a political statement.
“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.”
― Howard Zinn
If you have interest in another facet of US History or the
role of social justice in this country, you might want to read his work. My hope is that you enjoy and appreciate him as I did.
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