Bill Introduced to Ban Howard Zinn Books from Arkansas Public Schools
ANGLO AMERICA, 6 Mar 2017
Max Brantley – Arkansas Times
2 Mar 2017 – The deadline for new legislation is fast approaching and it can’t come too soon. Just in from Sen. Rep. Kim Hendren: Legislation to prohibit any publicly supported schools (you, too, charters) from including in curriculum or course materials any books or other material authored by Howard Zinn.
(Actually, anything Zinn wrote before 1959 is not covered.)
Zinn, who died in 2010, was a Ph.D. historian, social activist and more who wrote the best-selling “A People’s History of the United States.” A version for young readers came out in 2007.
His New York Times obituary probably gives you a taste of the danger Kim Hendren sees in Howard Zinn:
Proudly, unabashedly radical, with a mop of white hair and bushy eyebrows and an impish smile, Mr. Zinn, who retired from the history faculty at Boston University two decades ago, delighted in debating ideological foes, not the least his own college president, and in lancing what he considered platitudes, not the least that American history was a heroic march toward democracy.
Almost an oddity at first, with a printing of just 4,000 in 1980, “A People’s History of the United States” has sold nearly two million copies. To describe it as a revisionist account is to risk understatement. A conventional historical account held no allure; he concentrated on what he saw as the genocidal depredations of Christopher Columbus, the blood lust of Theodore Roosevelt and the racial failings of Abraham Lincoln. He also shined an insistent light on the revolutionary struggles of impoverished farmers, feminists, laborers and resisters of slavery and war.
Such stories are more often recounted in textbooks today; they were not at the time.
“Our nation had gone through an awful lot — the Vietnam War, civil rights, Watergate — yet the textbooks offered the same fundamental nationalist glorification of country,” Mr. Zinn recalled in a recent interview with The New York Times. “I got the sense that people were hungry for a different, more honest take.”
Even some on the liberal side thought Zinn’s revisionism went too far.
That criticism barely raised a hair on Mr. Zinn’s neck. “It’s not an unbiased account; so what?” he said in the Times interview. “If you look at history from the perspective of the slaughtered and mutilated, it’s a different story.”
He inspired a movie, documentaries and song. Dangerous stuff for the Arkansas student in one legislator’s view.
Max Brantley: I was editor of the Times from its inception as a weekly in May 1992 until July 1, 2011. I still write a weekly column and I spend most of my time writing the Arkansas Blog. I was born in Louisiana, went to college in Virginia and California and worked almost 19 years at the Arkansas Gazette before coming to the Times. In addition to politics, I like food, travel, cooking and griping. I’m a liberal. If you don’t like it, sign on the Arkansas Blog and give me hell.
Howard Zinn (Aug 24, 1922 – Jan 27, 2010) was an American historian, playwright, and social activist. He was a political science professor at Boston University. Zinn wrote more than twenty books, including his best-selling and influential A People’s History of the United States. In 2007, he published a version of it for younger readers, A Young People′s History of the United States. Zinn described himself as “something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a democratic socialist.” He wrote extensively about the civil rights and anti-war movements, and labor history of the United States. His memoir, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, was also the title of a 2004 documentary about Zinn’s life and work. Zinn died of a heart attack in 2010, aged 87. (Wikipedia)
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