We lost a great activist and educator today.
Howard Zinn passed away after having lived a very full life, and after sharing extremely important thoughts on the telling of history.
Howard's work goes well beyond being a provocative professor at Boston University. Every visitor to this site should click the following link and spend as much time on his site as you can, http://http://howardzinn.org/default/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=3&Itemid=25
Picking up a book or two won't hurt either...
I'm most aware of Howard's teaching's from his monumental book, A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present. Howard's basic premise is that history has been written by those with and in positions of power. Makes sense, doesn't it? I don't recall ever being taught that the US was founded on the genocide of Indigenous people, and that the US economy was built by the forced labor of African slaves. I was taught there were cowboys and Indians, and slavery was a "backwards" time in the US.
Howard's view, which to me resonates the deepest, is to tell the story from the bottom -up, as opposed to the top-down. A radical departure from common means of telling history, crafting policy, etc. this simple yet completely radical idea can and should be put into action in as many diverse ways as possible, so that standpoint and perspectives are not continually as skewed as they have been for hundreds (or thousands) of years.
Just think about it: what if the perspective of someone without health care for their family was able to dictate policy as opposed to a politician that has more coverage then they could ever factually use? Therein lies the message that perspectives, narratives, and stories are all very different when told from diverse perspectives; a slave story will be different from a slave owners story, a Native Americans story will be different from a white settlers, and an investment banker/hedge funder/insurance salesman/wall-street executive's story will be very different from a working class family's story. A houselesss persons story will be very different from one who has never gone without food and shelter for a night.
These are some of the contributions Howard Zinn made-to help us think about others perspectives as opposed to just our own. Worthy thoughts and beliefs to continue to learn from and absorb. Thanks for your lessons Howard, messages that promote a world of peace, justice, healing and sustainability.