Populist historian and activist Howard Zinn discusses Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in the Age of Terrorism

Populist historian and activist Howard Zinn discusses The Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in the Age of Terrorism at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, in the Bates College Chapel. The public is invited to attend his talk, sponsored by the Bates Democrats, free of charge. Donations in the form of canned goods or clothing for the Good Shepherd Food Bank will be accepted, and a reception will follow in Chase Hall Lounge, Campus Avenue.

No other radical historian has reached as many hearts and minds as Zinn, whose writings cover the spectrum of war, race, politics, economic justice and history. His pivotal 1980 book, A People’s History of the United States (HarperCollins 1980), has surpassed 25 printings and sold more than 400,000 copies. Library Journal called the epic, “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those who have been exploited politically and economically and whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories.”

Zinn grew up in the immigrant slums of Brooklyn, where he worked in the shipyards as a teen-ager. He saw combat as an Air Force bombardier in World War II and later received his doctorate in history from Columbia University. His first book, La Guardia in Congress (1958), received the Albert Beveridge Prize. In 1956, Zinn became chair of the history department at Spelman College, where his experiences at the historically black women’s college led to his second book, The Southern Mystique.

As a participant and observer in the founding activities of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Zinn spent time in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and wrote SNCC: The New Abolitionists. As part of the American Heritage Series, he edited the anthology New Deal Thought. His fifth and sixth books, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal and Disobedience and Democracy, were written in the midst of his participation in intense antiwar activity. In 1968, he flew to Hanoi with Father Daniel Berrigan to receive the first of three American fliers released by North Vietnam.

Two years later Zinn produced The Politics of History. In 1972, he edited, with Noam Chomsky, The Pentagon Papers: Critical Essays, followed by Postwar America (1973) and Justice in Everyday Life (1974).

Other recent books by Zinn include Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology and You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times.

Professor emeritus of political science at Boston University, Zinn has written three plays, Emma, Daughters of Venus and Marx in Soho. Zinn received the Lannan Foundation Literary Award for Nonfiction and the Eugene V. Debs award for his writing and political activism.

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