53 Facts About Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn was an American historian, playwright, philosopher, socialist intellectual and World War II veteran.


Howard Zinn was chair of the history and social sciences department at Spelman College, and a political science professor at Boston University.


Howard Zinn was born to a Jewish immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York City, on August 24,1922.


Howard Zinn's father, Eddie Zinn, born in Austria-Hungary, immigrated to the US with his brother Samuel before the outbreak of World War I Howard Zinn's mother, Jenny Zinn, emigrated from the Eastern Siberian city of Irkutsk.


For many years, Howard Zinn's father was in the waiters' union and worked as a waiter for weddings and bar mitzvahs.


Howard Zinn's parents introduced him to literature by sending 10 cents plus a coupon to The New York Post for each of the 20 volumes of Charles Dickens' collected works.


Howard Zinn studied creative writing at Thomas Jefferson High School in a special program established by principal and poet Elias Lieberman.


Howard Zinn initially opposed entry into World War II, influenced by his friends, by the results of the Nye Committee, and by his ongoing reading.


Eager to fight fascism, Howard Zinn joined the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and became an officer.


Howard Zinn was assigned as a bombardier in the 490th Bombardment Group, bombing targets in Berlin, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.


The anti-war stance Howard Zinn developed later was informed, in part, by his experiences.


In 1966, Howard Zinn returned to Royan after which he gave his fullest account of that research in his book, The Politics of History.


Howard Zinn questioned the justifications for military operations that inflicted massive civilian casualties during the Allied bombing of cities such as Dresden, Royan, Tokyo, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, Hanoi during the War in Vietnam, and Baghdad during the war in Iraq and the civilian casualties during bombings in Afghanistan during the war there.


Howard Zinn's doctoral dissertation Fiorello LaGuardia in Congress was a study of Fiorello La Guardia's congressional career, and it depicted "the conscience of the twenties" as LaGuardia fought for public power, the right to strike, and the redistribution of wealth by taxation.


Howard Zinn was professor of history at Spelman College in Atlanta from 1956 to 1963, and visiting professor at both the University of Paris and University of Bologna.


Howard Zinn's dismissal came from Albert Manley, the first African-American president of that college, who felt Zinn was radicalizing Spelman students.


Rivers and Howard Zinn were among a group of faculty members who in 1979 defended the right of the school's clerical workers to strike and were threatened with dismissal after refusing to cross a picket line.


Howard Zinn came to believe that the point of view expressed in traditional history books was often limited.


Howard Zinn wrote a history text, A People's History of the United States, to provide other perspectives on American history.


In 2004, Howard Zinn published Voices of a People's History of the United States with Anthony Arnove.


The project was started when William Holtzman, a former student of Howard Zinn who wanted to bring Howard Zinn's lessons to students around the country, provided the financial backing to allow two other organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change to coordinate the project.


The film, narrated by Howard Zinn, includes performances by Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Viggo Mortensen, Josh Brolin, Danny Glover, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle, and Sandra Oh.


From 1956 through 1963, Howard Zinn chaired the Department of History and Social Sciences at Spelman College.


The program had been endorsed by the SNCC in December 1963 and was envisioned by Howard Zinn as having a curriculum that ranged from novels to books about "major currents" in 20th-century world history, such as fascism, communism, and anti-colonial movements.


Howard Zinn attended an assortment of SNCC meetings in 1964, traveling back and forth from Boston.


Howard Zinn was involved in what became known as Freedom Summer in Mississippi in the summer of 1964.


Howard Zinn's involvement included helping to develop the curriculum for the Freedom Schools.


Howard Zinn was concerned that bringing 1,000 college students to Mississippi to work as civil rights activists could lead to violence and killings.


Howard Zinn collaborated with historian Staughton Lynd mentoring student activists, among them Alice Walker, who would later write The Color Purple, and Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.


Howard Zinn co-wrote a column in The Boston Globe with fellow activist Eric Mann, "Left Field Stands".


Howard Zinn wrote about the struggle for civil rights, as both participant and historian.


In 2005, forty-one years after he was sacked from Spelman, Howard Zinn returned to the college, where he was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.


Howard Zinn wrote one of the earliest books calling for the US withdrawal from its war in Vietnam.


Howard Zinn's diplomatic visit to Hanoi with Reverend Daniel Berrigan, during the Tet Offensive in January 1968, resulted in the return of three American airmen, the first American POWs released by the North Vietnamese since the US bombing of that nation had begun.


The "Gravel Edition" was edited and annotated by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and included an additional volume of analytical articles on the origins and progress of the war, edited by Chomsky and Zinn.


Howard Zinn testified as an expert witness at Ellsberg's criminal trial for theft, conspiracy, and espionage in connection with the publication of the Pentagon Papers by The New York Times.


Defense attorneys asked Howard Zinn to explain to the jury the history of US involvement in Vietnam from World War II through 1963.


Howard Zinn discussed that history for several hours, and later reflected on his time before the jury.


Howard Zinn took part in the 1971 May Day protests.


In later years, Howard Zinn was an adviser to the Disarm Education Fund.


Howard Zinn opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq and wrote several books about it.


Howard Zinn asserted that the US would end Gulf War II when resistance within the military increased in the same way resistance within the military contributed to ending the US war in Vietnam.


Howard Zinn observed that it is not unusual for prominent professors such as Zinn to weigh in on current events, citing a resolution opposing the war in Iraq that was recently ratified by the American Historical Association.


Howard Zinn denied ever being a member and said that he had participated in the activities of various organizations which might be considered Communist fronts, but that his participation was motivated by his belief that in this country people had the right to believe, think, and act according to their own ideals.


Later in the 1960s, as a result of Howard Zinn's campaigning against the Vietnam War and his communication with Martin Luther King Jr.


The FBI memos show that they were concerned with Howard Zinn's repeated criticism of the FBI for failing to protect blacks against white mob violence.


Howard Zinn's daughter said she was not surprised by the files: "He always knew they had a file on him".


Howard Zinn was swimming in a hotel pool when he died of an apparent heart attack in Santa Monica, California, on January 27,2010, at age 87.


In one of his last interviews, Howard Zinn stated that he would like to be remembered "for introducing a different way of thinking about the world, about war, about human rights, about equality," and.


The happy thing about Howard Zinn was that in the last years he could gain satisfaction that his contributions were so impressive and recognized.


In 2003, Howard Zinn was awarded the Prix des Amis du Monde diplomatique for the French version of his seminal work, Une histoire populaire des Etats-Unis.


On October 5,2006, Howard Zinn received the Haven's Center Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship in Madison, Wisconsin.


Mary Grabar, a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, accused Howard Zinn of plagiarizing a polemic by novelist and anti-Vietnam War activist Hans Koning in The People's History, and editing Koning's narrative to remove what Grabar said was the "devout Catholic Columbus's concern for the natives".