(photo by Joyce Culver)
Howard Zinn, author of The People's History of the United States was an extraordinary man who changed the way we look at history and spoke for the people who couldn't. I had the honor of meeting him several times when he spoke at the 92nd St. Y. Most recently, when my colleagues and I produced "Voices of a Young People's History of the United States," hosting actors who brought the words of some often-forgotten historical figures to life on stage. You can hear his intro to the evening by clicking on the top photo of my sidebar. The Y, in fact, hosted the first of over 60 performances of A People’s History of the United States in 2003- that performance featured Alice Walker, James Earl Jones, Marisa Tomei, Kurt Vonnegut, Danny Glover and many others and can be seen here. Below, I've compiled a few favorite quotes.
The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface.
We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.
What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but "who is sitting in" -- and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.
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.