Author and scholar Howard Zinn passed away yesterday, leaving behind a virtual library of political criticism and history work.
Zinn (pictured, via) earned his history Ph.D. at Columbia University and advised the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at Spelman College. One of his most famous students was Alice Walker. In 1980, Zinn published the bestselling book, A People’s History of the United States, a textbook “chronicling American history from the bottom up.” It became an influential text for many students, and is still included on many college reading lists.
Here’s a quote from a 2008 interview about war, a fitting way to remember this scholar: “[T]here’s a tendency to believe that what has happened in the past must inevitably continue to happen in the present and future. In other words, since the history of humankind, there’s been a history of repeated wars, almost continuous warfare. It’s very hard for people to accept the fact that this might come to an end. Indeed, Tuberculosis was a scourge all through the history of humankind and it was hard for people to accept the fact that it actually might be done away with. The history of warfare likewise has made it difficult for people to accept the fact that there could be a break with history and war could be abolished.”